Democracy Forum 11/15/19 “Is government doing good: policy feedback effects and the civic divide”

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine
Engineer: Amy Browne

Key Discussion Points:
We’ll talk about new political science research into policy feedback effects
How public policy design affects people’s sense of themselves as citizens and their propensity to participate.
What this means for legislators and advocates

Guests:
Amy Fried, Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Maine. umaine.edu/polisci/faculty-and-staff/amy-fried/
Don Moynihan, McCourt Chair at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. gufaculty360.georgetown.edu/s/contact/0033600001i3sNRAAY/donald-moynihan

To learn more about this topic:
Administrative Burden: Policymaking by Other Means, Pamela Herd and Donald P. Moynihan, December 2018
Citizens feel disconnected from government. If they knew what government did for them, they wouldn’t.” Interview with Susan Mettler, Washington Post, November 2018
Reforms at Risk: What Happens After Major Policy Changes Are Enacted , Eric M. Patashnik, 2009

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

Democracy Forum 10/18/19: Hate and Fear in Politics: How fear and Anger Endanger Democracy

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine
Engineer: Amy Browne

Program Topic: Hate and Fear in Politics: How fear and anger endanger democracy

Key Discussion Points:

We talk about hate and fear in politics and whether they undermine democracy:
How panic and fear make space for abandoning the rule of law and the regular order;
How when we demonize the opposition, it makes room for extraordinary measures to stop them.

Guests:
Joanne Freeman, Professor of history and American studies at Yale University history.yale.edu/people/joanne-freeman
Steve Wessler, Maine human rights educator, trainer, and advocate specializing in conflict resolution www.stevewessler.com/

To learn more about this topic:
Trump and the Politics of Fear,” Molly Ball in The Atlantic, September, 2016.
America Descends into the Politics of Rage,” Joanne Freeman in The Atlantic, October, 2018.
The Upside of Anger,” Isaac Chotiner interviews Martha C. Nussbaum for Slate, August, 2018

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

Democracy Forum 9/20/19: Black, White, and Blue Lies: Lies that divide, lies that unite

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine
Engineer: Amy Browne

We talk about the lies in politics and the politics of lying, Historical examples, and current practice.
How is the present moment in American politics different from others in our history? Or is it?
What are the consequences for democracy?

Guests:
Dallas G. Denery II, Professor of History at Bowdoin College. www.bowdoin.edu/profiles/faculty/ddenery/index.html
Nancy L. Rosenblum, the Harvard University Senator Joseph Clark Professor of Ethics in Politics and Government emerita scholar.harvard.edu/nrosenblum/home

To learn more about this topic:
How the Science of “Blue Lies” May Explain Trump’s Support,” guest blog at the Scientific American by Jeremy Adam Smith, March 2017.
Trump’s lies corrode democracy,” James Pfiffner for Brookings, April 2018.
A Behavioral Science Solution to Lies in Politics,” blogpost at Psychology Today by Gleb Tsipursky, June 2017.
Conspiracy Without the Theory,” by Russell Muirhead and Nancy L. Rosenblum in The Atlantic,
April, 2019.

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org.

Democracy Forum 7/19/19: Town Government: Take 2. Listeners have spoken!

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine
Engineer: Amy Browne

This month, back by popular demand, we’ll talk more about practicing politics and democracy at the most personal level, in local government.
What are the characteristics of the towns that have the most civic participation?
How can community members help create a culture of inclusion and civic engagement in their own towns?
What can go right; and what can go wrong?

Guests:
Susan Clark, is coauthor of Slow Democracy: Rediscovering Community, Bringing Decision Making Back Home. She serves as Town Moderator of Middlesex, Vermont.
Dick Thompson, an experienced moderator for the Towns of Palermo, China, Vassalboro, and others, Dick conducts moderator training for the Maine Municipal Association.

To learn more about this topic:
Slow Democracy: Rediscovering Community, Bringing Decision Making Back Home, Susan Clark and Woden Teachout, 2012.
Citizen’s Guide to Town Meeting, Maine Municipal Association.
For the People, by the People: What I saw when I participated in one of the truest forms of democracy, Amy Crawford in Slate May, 2013.
Americans Aren’t Practicing Democracy Anymore: As participation in civic life has dwindled, so has public faith in the country’s system of government, Yoni Applebaum in The Atlantic October, 2018.
We all should care more about local elections, editorial in the Bangor Daily News, July 6, 2019.
I’ll take the problems of local politics over the Washington chaos any day, Roger Bowen op-ed in the BDN, May 21, 2018.

More citizen education from the Maine Municipal Association here and tips on how to get involved in local government here.

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

Democracy Forum 6/21/19: Town Meeting- “Doing Democracy” in Your Town

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine
Engineer: Amy Browne

We talk about practicing politics and democracy at the most personal level, in local government, and the unusual experience we enjoy in the form of the New England town meeting.
Does the town meeting still work? Is participation up or down? Is partisanship creeping in? Is money “from away” taking more of an interest? If you’ve never been, what do you need to know?

Guests:
Susan Clark, is coauthor of Slow Democracy: Rediscovering Community, Bringing Decision Making Back Home. She serves as Town Moderator of Middlesex, Vermont.

Susan Lessard, Town Manager for Bucksport. She’s worked town government in Maine for over twenty years in a diverse array of communities, some with and some without a town meeting form of government.

Dick Thompson, an experienced moderator for the Towns of Palermo, China, Vassalboro, and others, Dick conducts moderator training for the Maine Municipal Association.

To learn more about this topic:
Slow Democracy: Rediscovering Community, Bringing Decision Making Back Home, Susan Clark and Woden Teachout, 2012.
Managing Town Hall meetings so that everyone benefits (and relatively few are miserable), Della Rucker in Creating a Wise Economy, May, 2015.
Citizen’s Guide to Town Meeting, Maine Municipal Association.
For the People, by the People: What I saw when I participated in one of the truest forms of democracy, Amy Crawford in Slate May, 2013.
Americans Aren’t Practicing Democracy Anymore: As participation in civic life has dwindled, so has public faith in the country’s system of government, Yoni Applebaum in The Atlantic October, 2018.
More citizen education from the Maine Municipal Association here.

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

Democracy Forum 5/17/19: Republic vs Democracy: Why Should We Care?

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine
Engineer: Amy Browne

What do those words mean: republic and democracy?

What do people mean when they say, “We’re not a democracy; we’re a republic,” in the context of different policy debates.

Is there a particular subtext implicating minority rights, even minority rule, and possibly states’ rights and federalism?

Guests :

Lance Dutson, a Republican communications consultant and a columnist for the Bangor Daily News. lancedutson.bangordailynews.com/about/

Joseph Reisert, Associate Professor of American Constitutional Law at Colby College www.colby.edu/directory/profile/jrreiser/

 To learn more about this topic:

  1. Democracy or Republic?, Jay Cost in Nationa Review September, 2018.
  2. Sorry, Liberals, But America Is Not A Democracy, And It’s Better That Way,, Clifford Humphrey in The Federalist February, 2018.
  3. Is the U.S. a Democracy? A Social Studies Battle Turns on the Nation’s Values Dana Goldstein in The New York Times April, 2019.
  4. Is the United States of America a republic or a democracy? Eugene Volokh, The Volokh Conspiracy, at The Washington Post May, 2015.
  5. You Say Democracy, I Say Republic, Jonathan Bernstein in Bloomberg April, 2019        

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

Democracy Forum 4/19/19 Citizen Initiatives: The Devil’s in the Details

Citizen Initiatives: The Devil’s in the Details

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine, www.lwvme.org
Engineer: Amy Browne

Key Discussion Points:
the historical origins of the initiative provisions,
how initiatives actually work in Maine,
our contemporary experience with them, their effect on politics and elections,
the tension between direct and representative democracy, and
proposals for reform, many of which are being debated in the Maine State Legislature right now.

Guests:
Joshua Dyck, Associate Professor of Political Science and Co-Director of the Center for Public Opinion at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. www.uml.edu/fahss/political-science/faculty/dyck-joshua.aspx
Michael Franz, Professor of Government and Legal Studies at Bowdoin College and co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project. mikemfranz.com/

To learn more about this topic:
Initiatives without Engagement A Realistic Appraisal of Direct Democracy’s Secondary Effects, Joshua J. Dyck and Edward L. Lascher, Jr., 2019
Ballot Questions in Maine, Polling Edition, Michael Franz, April, 2019.
Miller-Rose Initiative Database at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government, Claremont McKenna College.
Seizing the Initiative: A Short History of Direct Democracy in America Nick Johnson, April, 2018.
American Voters Are Turning to Direct Democracy, Vann Newkirk, Atlantic April 2018.

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

Democracy Forum 3/15/19

The Electoral College: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine
Engineer: Amy Browne

Key Discussion Points:
The electoral college. its historical origins and the founders’ intent,
The practical implications for modern American politics,
Proposals for reform, including the National Popular Vote (NPV).

Guests:
Mark Brewer, Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine
Jamie Raskin, Professor Law at American University Washington College of Law and U.S. Congressman representing Maryland’s 8th District
Patrick Rosenstiel, CEO of Ainsley Shea, a Minneapolis-based public relations firm working to advance the National Popular Vote.

To learn more, follow these links to related content:

As American as Apple Pie? The Rural Vote’s Disproportionate Slice of Power Emily Badger in The New York Times, November, 2016.
The real reason we have an Electoral College: to protect slave states Sean Illing interviews Akhil Reed Amar in Vox, November, 2016.
The Electoral College badly distorts the vote. And it’s going to get worse. Katy Collin in The Washington Post, November, 2016.
Don’t Believe the Myths about the National Popular Vote, Saul Anuzis, The Hill, May, 2018.
Constitutional Law Professor Drops Bombshell on `Forgotten Americans’ at Democrats’ Electoral College Meeting, Jamie Raskin, Alternet December, 2016.
An Idea for Electoral College Reform That Both Parties Might Actually Like, Edward B. Foley, Politico January, 2019.
Alternative view: National Popular Vote would amplify Maine voices and empower small states, Patrick Rosenstiel in the Maine Wire, March 10, 2019.

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Sheila Kirby, Ann Luther, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org