Can the camera do democracy?

by Ryan Rafaty

Last month, NBC News host Chris Hayes hosted a remarkable hour-long town hall meeting in Kenosha, Wisconsin with Bernie Sanders, a panel of outspoken Trump voters, and an audience ostensibly mixed of all political persuasions. It was the kind of cable news event with highly intermittent moments of bankable content, in between drawn out segments of messy, back-and-forth opining and debate; the kind of thoughtful engagement that takes ‘too much time’ and is therefore an exception, rather than the rule, of our political news hours. The video is worth watching. It serves as an example of how the camera can do democracy, if given the chance.

The need for a new party, redux

by Ryan Rafaty

During the Great Depression 85 years ago, when masses of American voters had 'lost all confidence that politics can accomplish anything significant', American philosopher John Dewey wrote of the urgent need to move beyond the business-dominated two-party system. The Democratic and Republican national committees were at the time colluding to restrict both extra-party competition and intra-party dissent in ways that strikingly resemble today's two-party cartel. Dewey's argument is both as obvious today as it was then, and as woefully unfulfilled.