In response to the mounting public anger about inequality and the climate crisis in the United States, the left has seized the initiative, proposing higher taxes on the rich to fund trans-formative government programs like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. But parallel concerns about the domination of government institutions by unaccountable technocrats and wealthy elites—a danger that could derail all those plans—have so far failed to generate a similar stream of ambitious proposals.
A strong, radically democratic vision for the left must combine advocacy of growing state power with demands for more effective citizen oversight and participation. The left needs more than good policy. It needs serious, creative proposals for how to drain the swamp.
Our broken campaign finance system is a longstanding target of progressive ire. And as Republican state legislatures have made increasingly aggressive moves to entrench minority rule, many people are beginning to see a broader defense of democratic integrity as a crucial part of any left agenda. Yet most of the attention of reformers has been limited to the electoral process—perhaps because we tend to assume that getting “our people” into office will solve the problem.
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