VOX POPULI NEWSLETTER
Public Consultation in RealClearPolitics & Newsweek:
Finding Solutions by Listening Instead of Point-Scoring
It’s never been a better time for Members of Congress to refocus on listening to the voice of the people, according to a recent op-ed featured in RealClear Politics. In “Put the People Back in the People’s House,” Kevin R. Kosar and John Maxwell Hamilton discuss the roadblocks in the way of funding Social Security, but also the deeper seeded need for Congressional representatives to hear from the people as a whole. Kosar is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and hosts the Understanding Congress Podcast. Hamilton is a global fellow with the Wilson Center and serves on the faculty for Louisiana State University.
“In short, the problem is that members of the legislative branch hear elite and extreme voices too much and regular Americans’ views too little,” the article reads. “The great mass of Americans do not want to score points against the other side. They want solutions. They want government to work. And they are disenfranchised.”
Hamilton and Kosar suggest legislators work with organizations like University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation and Voice of the People to create more opportunities for representatives to hear from representative samples of constituents, writing “these panels would have legislators and citizens having a structured conversation to better understand a public problem and come up with solutions.”
PPC’s findings were also mentioned in Newsweek, detailing the surprising common ground among Americans on measures needed to secure the future of Social Security. In the piece, our own Steven Kull stated that “large bipartisan majorities say they are ready to take tough steps to secure the Social Security program for future generations.”
Study Finds Americans In Favor of Congressional Term Limits
Congressional term limits are a popular proposal for most Americans, according to a recent study. The study, conducted by the Program for Public Consultation (PPC) at the University of Maryland, found that five-in-six Americans are in favor of a Constitutional Amendment that would allow for Congressional term limits. PPC surveyed 2,700 registered voters regarding the issue, and reported that 86% of Republicans, 80% of Democrats and 84% of independents were on board with the proposal. These findings were similar to an earlier survey conducted by PPC in 2017, which found 80% of respondents in support.
The issue has garnered renewed interest as Speaker Kevin McCarthy promised a vote on Congressional term limits. A vote on term limits in Congress has not been taken since 1995.
When asked, in the current survey, how many terms they wanted Members of Congress limited to, a bipartisan majority reported they preferred a four-term limit for House members, and two terms for Senators.
Respondents in favor of term limits found convincing the argument that “incumbents have too much security in their seats,” while those against term limits found convincing the argument that “term limits reduce the amount of experience in Congress.”
For more on the term limits study, check out our press release.
Put yourself in the shoes of policymakers by trying our policymaking simulation on congressional term limits. In this simulation, you’ll get a briefing about the issue, learn the arguments for and against term limits, and register your views. Once you finish the simulation, you’ll have a chance to send your recommendations to your Congresspeople.
Armenia’s first “citizens convention” was held this month to address the problems that Armenians face at home and abroad. The event was created and run by the organization Future Armenia, which describes itself as a “public initiative launched by Armenians from around the world,” that uses the Citizens Assembly model to solve problems, from concrete policy issues to reckoning with past atrocities.
The problems and solutions that the convention focused on were put together by a group of volunteer Armenian experts. Over one hundred thousand Armenians applied to take part, and around one thousand were selected. After deliberating on various issues, in the end the participants defined 15 goals for Armenia, including diplomatic relations, Armenia-Diaspora unity, education and population growth.