Building Democracies for the 21st Century | Matt Leighninger
Don't save democracy—improve it
“People want more more of a voice. They want want more choice. They want to be heard, and they don't just want to be represented. Most people are willing to leave 95% of the public realm to the officials, but there's the 5% that they want to be part of. Some of it is decisions that are setting the course for the community, the decisions that will influence other smaller decisions…Voting for another person to make those decisions does not give them a voice.”
Matt Leighninger is the Head of Democracy Innovation at the National Conference on Citizenship. A pioneer in democracy innovation, Matt’s spent the past 20 years working on improving our political processes, from creating citizens assemblies to bringing technology into a typically analogue space; he engineered the Text, Talk, Act campaign under Obama’s presidency to encourage active citizenship in the youth.
Matt joins me to discuss what we can do about our increasing polarized society, insisting we must move beyond thinking about “saving” democracy and focus our energies on improving it.
Explaining we currently run 21st century democracies with 20th century institutions, Matt introduces democratic innovations which are being used all over the world by cities and nations alike. He also explains the limitations elected officials face and the importance of deliberative processes in any democracy.
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