When I was in college in the late 80s-early 90s, there was a sense that history was on a straight path toward democracy everywhere. Well, that's not true. It was also not true that there's a single era of oligarchy, because we showed we could do something about it.
— Zephyr Teachout
An intuitive part of the American ethos is a kind of protectiveness of the public's fear. We have to remember how unique that is. As scandal-ridden as we may be, we start with a basic expectation that it's not your job in public service to use it to help your friend.
The Internet doesn’t just enable cool avatars and the shorter form. It also allows the deeper form: cross-linked blog posts, extensive research, simultaneous screens and raw debate footage that anyone can scan online, at any time.
Normally, politicians lie because they want to persuade us of the truth of what they are saying. A candidate for Congress will claim that he earned a medal of honor when he did not, so that we will love and revere him.
Amazon's capitulation to those opposed to their expansion in New York City is an epic moment for people power over an enormous corporate bully.
I represented a man on death row whose lawyers had spent all of eight hours looking into his claim of innocence. I met men whose lawyers had never looked into their backgrounds.
Women are routinely demeaned, dismissed, discouraged and assaulted. Too many women’s careers are stymied or ended because of harassment and abuse. In politics, where I have worked much of my adult life, this behavior is rampant.
Politicians are expected to spend half their time talking to funders and to keep them happy. Given this context, it’s not hard to see how a bribery charge can feel like a technical argument instead of a moral one.
I am not Pollyannaish about the depths of the challenges we face.
Anti-corruption is a core constitutional value. It always has been.
Everybody’s always going to have some self-interest. When it passes a certain point, that’s when it become corruption.
One of the things I care about a lot is public financing in elections.
Creating systems where people feel like they're being punished for things they didn't do wrong breaks all kinds of trust and makes people feel like they're not being treated with dignity.
I hope the true public servants learn from this that they should not be afraid and they will get incredible grass-roots support if they call out corruption.
Collective decisions about health care and education are best answered on a local level.
New York has really thrived both upstate and downstate when there are tens of thousands of small businesses all representing their different creative impulses.
So the job of building structures, building a constitutional structure, is not just to punish those who behave badly but actually to protect people from their own temptations.
It's said that history inevitably marches toward democracy, but it only leaves the possibility of democracy, and the constant threat that it would be eroded by big money.
In the absence of relative equality - quid pro quo - a court might question whether there was an actual contract. If I give you a dollar, and you give me a mansion, our contract would lack quid pro quo.
At their best, new media are chaotic. The new technologies disrupt political pomp and glamour and engage people in an unpolished and unpredictable give-and-take. They also give citizens access to a surprising depth of raw information.
It is time to call out Google for what it is: a monopolist in search, video, maps and browser, and a thin-skinned tyrant when it comes to ideas.
Amazon’s outsized power is looking less and less like smart business and more and more like oppressive politics - one company bullying us all.
My first job out of law school was representing people on death row in North Carolina, where I often saw the impact of hasty prosecutions.
We need to ban outside income for elected officials. Transparency alone is not enough; it doesn’t solve the problem of creating outside dependencies.
The corruption that hides in plain sight is the real threat to our democracy.
The work of being a citizen is hard and annoying, but it can pay off.
Every constitutional standard is engaged in difficult but important line-drawing.
My family lives in Vermont. I'm a law professor and I spend summers researching and writing in Vermont.
I joke about it being a millstone, but it never hurts to have a name that sticks out.
At a policy level, we can support protecting and serving as opposed to militarization or disproportionate response. Step one is making sure we don't militarize and actually call for a review of military equipment in New York police forces.
The science doesn't prove Common Core's effective. So I guess what I mean is science is an essential part of any decision-making process, and so is public involvement. And in the long-term, you lose legitimacy and power if you don't directly engage with the public.
I hope that we increasingly shift power to local governments.
The Internet is an important organizing tool. But the goal of a campaign isn't to use the Internet for organizing; the goal is always to win, and to change policy and politics.
One of the things that is so important, critical I think, in reading not just the founders but thousands of years as you put it, that discussion about corruption, is that you can't talk about the problem of corruption without talking about human nature.
Quid pro quo has an interesting history. It's originally a contract law term, not a criminal bribery term.
I propose a full day of live one-on-one debates on unannounced issues, with no aides to help or reply. Each candidate would be paired with another candidate for seven 60-minute sessions.
We fought a revolution to free ourselves from arbitrary power and the whims of a monarch.
Google has established a pattern of lobbying and threatening to acquire power. It has reached a dangerous point common to many monarchs: The moment where it no longer wants to allow dissent.
Mom and pop shops paying taxes while Amazon got billions just to come to town didn't seem right, and, post-FoxxConn, people are less likely to fall for the promised jobs numbers.
Voters have a responsibility to make a judgment with whatever facts are available on Election Day.
The structure of private campaign finance has essentially pre-corrupted our politicians, so that they can’t even recognize explicit bribery because it feels the same as what they do every day.
Facebook and Google are essentially an advertising duopoly, and we have almost no idea how their algorithms work.
As attorney general, I would work with my colleagues in other states to launch a major antitrust investigation to look into the ways in which Facebook and Google are wielding and may be abusing their duopoly powers.
It’s always a fun game to go back and guess what long-past people would think.
It is an honor to join 'The Nation’s esteemed editorial board.
Refusing to grant clemency is a failure of one of the most basic jobs of being governor.
Every politician should go and spend time and visit prisons and jails. Because if you are choosing to exercise this kind of power over another person's life, there's a role for that, but you have to know the kind of power you are exercising.
A government should not become too big to fulfill one of its most basic functions: representation.
I think a lot of campaigns mis-learned the lessons of Obama 2008. They overly focused on the particular tools, and less so on the fact that the Internet enables a kind of culture of trust to be translated into real power.
It's one of those secrets that not a lot of politicians realize: The Internet is not a 10th-tier policy issue. It's not an add-on policy. It's something that affects everybody's life.