…m disproportionate access and influence. It is right to fight their unfair advantage in the system. But it is even more important to recognize that this hack has been made possible because we have collectively introduced a vulnerability into the system. The entire logic of representative democracy begins to break down when large numbers of us disengage.
But such claims misdiagnose the root cause of our democratic malaise. In the ominous quote at the beginning of this post, Benjamin Franklin warns that our democracy’s very existence relies on our active maintenance. He and our other political forebearers designed a political system that assumes a highly informed and engaged citizenry whose consistent participation creates feedback loops between representatives’ decisions and their reelection prospects. Instead, too many of us have ceded the public square to smaller and better organized interests who have turned this electoral feedback loop to their narrow advantage.