You could fill an entire bookshelf with works about the crisis of democracy in the Trump era, but Lessig has been eloquently hammering this point longer than most ... This is by now a familiar critique, but Lessig tells it with skill, citing a plethora of studies and historical examples to make a persuasive case about the unrepresentativeness of America’s political institutions ... The second part of Lessig’s book, where he discusses what ails 'us' — by which he means society at large, not just political institutions — is more surprising but less convincing. For someone devoted to expanding democracy, Lessig is sharply critical of how the will of the people is expressed in American politics today ... though he rightly condemns the anarchy of social media, he’s strangely nostalgic for the world of 1950s-era broadcast news, when three networks dominated by white males largely determined what the public did and didn’t see ... Most startling of all, Lessig thinks the few, not the many, should determine public policy.
Lessig offers a thoughtful, illuminating, nonpartisan, and pragmatic analysis of the changes needed to restore power to the public ... In this bold and compelling book, Lessig both scrutinizes the laws and forces that led us to this point and guides us towards visionary changes that can reset and restore our faith in our democracy. Given the complexities of the tasks at hand, this a must-read and a much-needed wake up call.
... urgent and hard-hitting ... In the book’s second half, [Lessig] proposes a series of fixes. Some, such as ranked-choice voting, seem sensible; others, including 'democracy coupons,' in which every citizen would be given a stipend to contribute to political candidates as they see fit, appear complicated and expensive to institute, especially in the current political climate. But Lessig’s call for a 'slow democracy movement' to create better informed voters resonates, and he lists many examples of citizen movements that have achieved their goals. This bracing report on the state of American politics offers valuable insights for the 2020 elections.