In our lead feature, Mark Schmitt looks back at the 1990s effort, asks what went wrong, and offers a blueprint to revive campaign finance reform by celebrating, not castigating, the resurgence of a citizen-centered democracy. In our “Recounting” column, Democracy co-editor Andrei Cherny makes the progressive case for reviving the legacy of Louis Brandeis and against “bigness” and the concentration of power. And Kathleen McCarthy, an expert on philanthropy at the City University of New York, argues that in a world in which foundations will have more power than ever before, they need to enhance transparency and openness.
Another critical question facing our democracy is one as old as the republic: How to create a country in which e pluribus unum? Cristina Rodríguez, an assistant professor of law at New York University, counters the hysteria around immigration and the push to “preserve” English by arguing that bilingualism is actually essential to the cohesion of our country. Similarly, Spencer Ackerman, a senior correspondent at the American Prospect, looks at Muslims in America and explains how and why they have become a part of the national mosaic.
A vibrant democracy is founded on the rule of law and an economy that allows all to participate. So Neal Katyal—the Georgetown University law professor who argued the landmark Supreme Court case Hamdan v. Rumsfeld—calls for a new approach to defending human rights. Jerome Skolnick, past president of the American Society of Criminology, examines what caused the great crime decline of the 1990s. Brad DeLong of the University of California, Berkeley draws the lessons for progressives from the life of the recently deceased Milton Friedman. And Christopher Howard of the College of William and Mary reveals that the welfare state is larger than we think—but more unfair than we’d like. Turning abroad to the possible threats to our democracy, Jofi Joseph, foreign relations adviser to Senator Bob Casey, Jr., critiques the Bush Administration’s approach to nonproliferation and offers a different strategy for handling Tehran, while UCLA’s Steven Spiegel outlines a neo-regionalist strategy in dealing with the Middle East.
And because democracy—and Democracy—is, of course, about debate, we have two lively responses to essays from the last issue. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, author of the global bestseller Hitler’s Willing Executioners, rebuts Peter Bergen and Michael Lind’s argument that humiliation fuels violent extremism; what’s important, he argues, is what makes those people feel so humiliated in the first place. And two experts in corporate social responsibility (CSR)—attorneys Dan Feldman and Sarah Altschuller—report back from the frontlines that, contrary to Aaron Chatterji and Siona Listokin’s essay in our Winter issue, CSR is an effective strategy to achieve progressive ends.