Will Young Americans Finally Rock the Vote?

After Decades of Research, We Know How to Get New People to the Polls. We Just Don’t Always Do It

Twenty years ago, I published Taking Back the Vote: Getting American Youth Involved in Our Democracy. The book grew out of a personal passion: Once my oldest child was able to cast a ballot, I became fascinated with the potential and obstacles facing our youngest voters.

I delved into the lengthy and messy midcentury struggle to pass the 26th Amendment, extending the franchise to 18-year-olds. The first bill to lower the voting age was introduced in Congress during World War II—why should young people be old enough to be drafted but …

Could This New Democratic Tool Make Californians Vote Smarter?

The Digital Deliberative Poll May Encourage the Public to Learn More About Their Ballots

Californians vote on many ballot measures, but we almost never participate in significant public debates and discussions about the measures’ contents and impacts.

This isn’t simply a result of apathy or …

Stop Trying to ‘Save’ Democracy

Or Waiting on a Politician To Do It for You. Instead, Practice It—At Work, School, and Little League

Please don’t save democracy.

If you’re a politician—stop promising to save it.

Please! Stop even trying.

Because you can’t. Democracy isn’t something you save. The sooner we stop talking about saving democracy, the …

A tight crowd of men and women, some sitting down, some standing. Political banners and pictures are seen above the people.

In Dhaka, the Roadblocks to Democracy Are Roadblocks

As the Election Looms in Bangladesh, Blockades Are More Than a Metaphor for the Obstacles Facing Voters

It’s election season in Bangladesh—the roads are closed, vehicles are burning, and the threat of violence is close.

As I write these sentences, the country’s chief opposition party—the Bangladesh Nationalist Party …

Jimmy Carter’s Pragmatic Path to Power

An Idealist in and After Office, He Became a Governor and a President By Appealing to Racial and Class Prejudice

Former president Jimmy Carter, who will be 99 this Sunday, October 1, was only 46 when he first popped up on the national political radar. After declaring in his 1971 …