In 2013, with initial support from the Hewlett Foundation, the Brookings Institution’s Governance Studies Program launched its Strengthening American Democracy Initiative. The Initiative has since undertaken new and much-needed research on the causes of, and potential solutions to, rising dysfunction in the U.S. political system. Topics explored include the changing nature of political parties, possibilities for electoral or institutional reforms, and possible improvements to civic education and news coverage. This grant would allow Brookings not only to continue its research and publications, but also—through events and through its curated website—to better connect academics, practitioners, and policymakers working to address these problems.
About the Grantee
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Grants to this Grantee
for the Opportunity after Neoliberalism Project
The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC. Brookings’ mission is to conduct in-depth research that leads to new ideas for solving problems facing society at the local, national and global level. This project — led by Richard Reeves, senior fellow at Brookings, and advised by Joshua Cohen— will break down the key philosophical, historical, theological, and anthropological foundations of neoliberalism, with the goal of considering what a post-neoliberal opportunity society might look like. The purpose of this project is to entice a leading, creative, and diverse set of thinkers to deconstruct neoliberal ideas of opportunity, meritocracy, and economic mobility; highlight both the positive and negative aspects of the neoliberal framing of opportunity; and where appropriate, propose alternative approaches.
for a research project to strengthen American democracy
The U.S. political system has become increasingly dysfunctional. Public trust in government has reached an all-time low and legislative leaders appear increasingly incapable of cohesive action. These problems are compounded by the growth in unlimited and often undisclosed campaign expenditures, a new media environment that exacerbates existing divisions, and an established media that does little to hold elected officials accountable. To help better understand and address these challenges, the Brookings Institution’s Governance Studies Program is proposing a multi-year effort to undertake new and much-needed research, and develop a "Democracy Hub" that will connect academics, practitioners, and policymakers working to address these problems.
for support of the Voting Rights Act Conference
This February the Supreme Court heard a challenge, Shelby Co. v. Holder, to Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Right Acts. This Section requires Department of Justice "preclearance" before any changes can be made to voting practices or procedures in a set of jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination. It is widely expected that the Supreme Court will overturn this provision, making it far easier for local voter suppression tactics to become law. A decision is expected by the end of June, 2013. With this grant, Brookings’ Governance Studies initiative would host a day-long conference bringing together parties in the case, election law experts, voting rights and reform advocates, and members of the media for a series of on-the-record discussions on the Court’s ruling and its impact on voting rights and election administration.