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For those of you coming to APSA...

Hope you can join us for an Authors meets critics panel, leading off at 8am the first day of the conference.


Authors Meet Critics: Neblo, Esterling, and Lazer’s “Politics with the People”

Thu, August 30, 8:00 to 9:30am, Marriott, Salon H


"Politics with the People: Building a Directly Representative Democracy," squarely addresses the conference theme of “Democracy and Its Discontents.” We argue that representative democracy in the U.S. (and elsewhere) is building toward a crisis rooted in the collapse of effective communication between elected officials and their constituents. Confidence and trust in American democratic institutions is at an all time low. This book lays out a vision of what a reinvigorated, communication technology-powered representative democracy could look like in the 21st century. We argue for “directly representative democracy,” a proposal for building more deliberative connections between citizens and government decision makers in order to create an alternative to our broken system of interest group liberalism and partisan bloodsport. Far from being merely notional, this proposal is based on a series of ground breaking field experiments which studied an alternative conception of communication between elected officials and their constituents in a realistic, yet scientifically rigorous, way.  Members of Congress agreed to be randomly assigned to samples of their constituents, participating in online town hall meetings about some of the most important and controversial issues of the day.  The results from these experiments reveal a model of how our democracy could work, where politicians consult with and inform citizens in substantive discussions, and where otherwise marginalized citizens participate and are empowered. The panel's critics gather some of the most distinguished scholars of political communication and democracy working today: Jane Mansbridge (Harvard; past president of APSA), James Fishkin (Stanford), Diana Mutz (University of Pennsylvania), John Gastil (Pennsylvania State University), Andre Bächtiger (Universitat Luzerne) and Christopher Karpowitz (Brigham Young University).
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