Draft constitutions in comparative perspective

Excerpts below from an article by Zachary Elkins on Medium. The Joy of Politics posted a note on Constitute in June 2017. One nagging challenge in Constitutional design is how to involve citizens in the drafting process in a meaningful way. One traditional role for citizens is to review and approve the proposed text by … More Draft constitutions in comparative perspective

Democracy is…

I read a lot of material that amounts to an obituary of democratic governance. Democracy is (choose your descriptor) and plagued by a loss of faith. This is one of the principal reasons I have persisted working on the Joy of Politics project Among other things, I thought that it was important to define both … More Democracy is…

Innovation in Politics

An international group of private citizens has created a novel way to engage in local and European politics: an award offered to politicians who undertake innovative initiatives designed to improve the lives of their constituents. According to their web site, “[t]he Innovation In Politics Awards are the first in a series of activities with the … More Innovation in Politics

Design digest: federal elections in Germany

You might think that simplicity would be at a premium in national elections. The architects of the German electoral system thought otherwise. Germans will vote for members of the federal legislature (the Bundestag) in the autumn of 2017, not once, but twice, simultaneously! The electoral system is a complex hybrid, and we will not know … More Design digest: federal elections in Germany

Winning in politics

Below is the text of the Christian Science Monitor’s daily politics newsletter for July 26, 2017, by CMS politics editor Christa Case Bryant. The question is central. What does it really mean to “win” in politics? That’s a theme Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona hit on repeatedly in his speech from the Senate floor … More Winning in politics

The Joy of Politics

Why do so many people dislike politics, especially young people? Could it be because we misunderstand what politics actually is? David Wisner thinks so. Defining politics in clear, practical terms, and explaining fundamental structures and contemporary innovations, notably in the field of information technology, Wisner demonstrates that it is possible to speak meaningfully about politics … More The Joy of Politics


It has been claimed that the core premise of civic tech is to “convert digitally-enabled forms of mass engagement into real change.” Aside from whether this is feasible, it might also be asked, is it so? Is such “change” actually the main objective of civic tech? What might this change look like? Enter vTaiwan. Taiwan … More vTaiwan