It’s less than two months before one of the most momentous elections in American history. Who will succeed Bush? More importantly, what ideas will succeed Bush?
As you already know, this question sits at the heart of every Democracy issue, including the one you have just received. What is the right path to take on expanding higher education access? Theda Skocpol and Suzanne Mettler, two of our nation’s most respected political scientists, explain in these pages. What sort of leadership qualities should our next president have? Few people have considered the question of leadership more deeply than Joseph Nye, Jr., and in this issue he gives his view on the ideal future president. What do Iranian politics look like from the inside, and what do they mean for U.S. foreign policy? Why is civic education important, and why do we need more of it? What kind of infrastructure investments should we be making to ensure growth through the twenty-first century? All of these questions are asked, and answered, in this issue.
Best New Publication. That’s what the Utne Independent Press Awards called us, choosing Democracy after combing through more than 1,300 independent publications.
But, as a loyal reader, you are well aware of Democracy’s provocative articles, A-list authors, and path-breaking ideas. With features such as last year’s “After Iraq” and last issue’s “New Progressive Agenda” symposia, you are reading, and becoming a part of, the debate about the future of the progressive movement. Indeed, many of the articles that have appeared in our pages have birthed ideas that have found homes in the Edwards, Clinton, and Obama campaigns; been embraced by policymakers on Capitol Hill; and been praised in the pages of the Washington Post and New York Times.
This issue is no different. Our articles cover some of the most pressing challenges we face today—from climate change and the aging of America to the future of China, the Muslim world, and the global food supply. Tackling these subjects are some of the most influential and fresh voices in the progressive world—the men and women who will shape our country and world for years to come.
At the height of the holiday season, we here at Democracy received a gift of our own—The Utne Independent Press Awards named us the best new publication of 2007! Competing against the several hundred magazines and journals launched last year, we consider this a real honor. “This quarterly ‘journal of ideas’ has consistently presented fresh perspectives on American foreign policy and politics,” the award panel wrote. “Democracy fills a void in today’s media landscape: It’s an intelligent, wide-ranging political magazine.”
Look at this most recent issue and you’ll see why we were picked. Our lead article is a lengthy symposium featuring 20 of the progressive world’s leading thinkers, each of whom presents a fresh idea for tackling some of the nation’s most pressing problems, from retiring Baby Boomers to water shortages. Alongside it are two exciting foreign-policy essays: The first, by Carnegie Endowment scholar Joshua Kurlantzick, on the pluses and minuses of sovereign wealth funds, and the second, by the Asia Society’s Jamie Metzl, on the unrecognized danger lurking at the intersection of genetic engineering and international relations. Alongside our features are several thoughtful book review/essays, including a hilarious, and hilariously smart, piece by Guardian America editor Michael Tomasky on the isolationist tendency in American conservatism.
A few weeks before going to press, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas got some great news: We’ve been nominated for an Utne Independent Press Award for Best New Publication. Though our competition is stiff—including Meatpaper, a magazine about, well, meat—we hope you’ll cross your fingers when the winners are announced in January. We sure will!
Why did we get nominated? Just take a look at our latest issue, which you just received. Our lead article, by Wilson Center fellow Matthew Dallek, explores the history of homeland security in the United States and discovers a progressive alternative to the Bush Administration’s weak and overpoliticized approach. In fact, history runs as a theme throughout the issue. Steven Simon and Jonathan Stevenson disassemble the “Vietnam analogy” that, war supporters claim, tells us to stay in Iraq—on the contrary, they find, if anything Vietnam tells us we should leave now. Jim Sleeper, aPulitzer Prize-winning journalist, examines the life of teachers’ union leader Albert Shanker, while Brandeis professor Peniel Joseph unpacks the complex relationship between the civil rights movement and American democracy. And be sure to check out journalist Rick Perlstein’s essay on the 1972 George McGovern campaign and what it can, and cannot, teach liberals today.