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American Politics and Political Reform

I've collected some thoughts about 21st-century politics in an essay entitled "What's Wrong with the Left, and What We Can Do About It" (March 30, 2004).

I became interested in political reform as a research associate for Common Cause in the early nineties. My full agenda involves tax simplification, a radical new approach to regulation, tough ethics rules, and campaign finance reform. These ideas are described in my book, The New Progressive Era: Toward a Fair and Deliberative Democracy, which is available from Amazon for $19.95. Dave Denison wrote a thoughtful and generous review in The American Prospect (click here). Another thoughtful review, by Howard L. Reiter, is also available online. In "Getting Practical About Deliberative Democracy," I've summarized one of the principal arguments of the book. And I've published two excerpts that are available online as separate articles: one on campaign finance reform, and one on journalism.
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Two blurbs:

"Peter Levine's new book represents an important new voice in our national deliberations about how to revitalize American democracy. It is a thorough, thoughtful account of the contemporary relevance of the ideas and innovations of the Progressive Era and a persuasive case for a new progressive agenda in American politics."

-- Prof. Robert D. Putnam, Harvard University

"Some books you read and put aside. Others you send to friends; this is one of those books. Peter Levine brings a rich historical and philosophical perspective to an immediate and practical question: What is going to be the effect of all the effort that has gone into civic renewal in the last decade? What it will take to make democracy work as it should will be an especially pressing issue in the 2000 elections. Americans are already frustrated by a political system where money, rather than people, seems to do the voting. This book speaks to everyone from journalists to foundation executives to teachers to members of civic organizations--all citizens. Don't miss reading it."

-- David Mathews, President, Kettering Foundation