Populism’s Rise Reshapes Global Political Risk. YaleGlobal. Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu. April 20, 2017
“The rise of populism in the Western world redefines the notion of political risk and teaches that risk has no permanent address,” explains Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu, professor of international business and public policy at the Fletcher School at Tufts University and a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. “Political populism, characterized by a desire to assert domestic democratic sovereignty and rejection of the ‘cult of the expert,’ owes its rise to increasing rejection of the conventional wisdom by citizens who feel left behind by globalization trends.” The backlash was inevitable as inequality swelled and citizens worry about loss of national sovereignty or local control. As a force, populism can contribute to eliminating corruption or dictatorships, and should not be ignored. Moghalu also outlines the risks of rejecting expertise and data, with attempts to substitute facts with conviction as well as threats to impartial institutions designed to safeguard the integrity of democracy. Experts and data are crucial in a complex world that prospers from well-crafted public policies. Those who disagree should argue with analysis and useful and realistic proposals. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
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Most Say Tensions Between Trump Administration And News Media Hinder Access To Political News. Pew Research Center. Michael Barthel, Jeffrey Gottfried and Amy Mitchell. April 4, 2017.
Following a presidential campaign season characterized by regular conflicts between Donald Trump and the news media and the continuation of these tensions since President Trump took office, nearly all Americans have taken notice, and large majorities feel these tensions are causing problems.
According to a new Pew Research Center survey, 94% of Americans say they have heard about the current state of the relationship between the Trump administration and the news media. And what they’ve seen does not reassure them: large majorities feel the relationship is unhealthy and that the ongoing tensions are impeding Americans’ access to important political news. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
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The Crisis of Democracy. YaleGlobal. Joanna Korey. March 30, 2017
At the close of the 20th century, democracy was the world’s most popular form of governance, an inspiring force. Then the 2008 economic crisis struck, a result of excess and debt, and eroded trust in national and global democratic institutions to identify and resolve big challenges. Increasing numbers of resentful citizens in democracies have fallen prey to leaders who talk tough and blame elites, and too many voters rely on misleading reports and promises of quick fixes “The success of any modern democratic state or system requires a fine balance between the popular mandate given to a leader and the rule of law that prevails in the state,” argues Joanna Korey. The leaders who capture majority support if only for a short while claim to have a mandate to upend systems and laws. “Naturally, such populists and their supporters must oppose all outside influences and forces of globalization – namely, an interconnected and fluid international system, a process that has not benefited the working class as much as elite insider groups,” she concludes. “Without active and educated voters, an inclusive political culture, accountability and transparency democracy may not survive in the coming years, and no viable alternative seems ready to take its place.” [Note: contains copyrighted material].
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Independence of Federal Financial Regulators: Structure, Funding, and Other Issues. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Henry B. Hogue, Marc Labonte, Baird Webel. February 28, 2017
Conventional wisdom regarding regulators is that the structure and design of the organization matters for policy outcomes. Financial regulators conduct rulemaking and enforcement to implement law and supervise financial institutions. These agencies have been given certain characteristics that enhance their day-to-day independence from the President and Congress, which may make policymaking more technical and less “political” or “partisan,” for better or worse. Independence may also make regulators less accountable to elected officials and can reduce congressional influence, at least in the short term.
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Large Majorities See Checks and Balances, Right to Protest as Essential for Democracy. Pew Research Center. March 2, 2017
Large majorities of the public, Republicans and Democrats alike, say open and fair elections and a system of governmental checks and balances are essential to maintaining a strong democracy in the United States.
However, there is less consensus about the importance of other aspects of a strong democracy – notably, the freedom of news organizations to criticize political leaders. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
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Proposals to Eliminate Public Financing of Presidential Campaigns. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. R. Sam Garrett. February 7, 2017
Congress is faced with determining whether it wants public financing of presidential campaigns to continue and, if so, how. The 113th Congress and President Obama chose to eliminate part of the program—public funding for nominating conventions—in April 2014 via P.L. 113-94 (H.R. 2019).1 The 2016 conventions were the first to be entirely privately financed since 1972. Public matching funds and grants remain in place for candidates who choose to participate. There is, however, a consensus even among supporters that the presidential public financing program is antiquated and offers insufficient benefits to attract the most competitive candidates.
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In Increasingly Authoritarian World, Can People Embrace Enlightenment 2.0? YaleGlobal Online. Marc Grossman. February 9, 2017
The Age of Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, spread through Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. Proponents argued that humans, as individuals and society, hold the power to improve their lives through reason and enterprise rather than tradition for tradition’s sake – thus unleashing respect for democracy, the rule of law, human rights and individual freedoms. “But no American president until Barack Obama has had to report that the Enlightenment’s fundamental values… are under assault in the United States,” explains Marc Grossman, vice chairman of The Cohen Group and a 2013 Kissinger senior fellow at Yale. Pessimism, intolerance and nationalism are dividing citizens. Grossman urges an Enlightenment 2.0 for free societies, developing a set of relevant, morally sound and modern guiding principles and reenergizing to promote sustainable growth, meet global challenges and restore meaning for all citizens. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
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