What deliberative democracy can, and can’t, do (with Jane Mansbridge)

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Every time I do an episode on polarization, I get a few emails asking: What about deliberative democracy? Couldn’t that be an answer?
Deliberative democracy, if you’re not familiar, refers to a broad set of approaches in which citizens get together, with or without their representatives, to deliberate on political questions. Not just vote, or donate money, but actually work through hard questions, in a structured process, together.
Jane Mansbridge is the Charles F. Adams professor of political leadership and democratic values at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, a past president of the American Political Science Association, and co-editor of the book, Deliberative Systems: Deliberative Democracy at the Large Scale. So she’s not just a pioneering theorist on deliberative democracy, she’s specifically studied the question where I’m most skeptical: Can it scale?
Book recommendations:
Politics with the People: Building a Directly Representative Democracy by Michael A. Neblo
Democracy When the People Are Thinking: Revitalizing Our Politics Through Public Deliberation by James S. Fishkin
Insecure Majorities: Congress and the Perpetual Campaign by Frances E. Lee

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