For Support Of The Strengthening American Democracy Initiative
The Strengthening American Democracy Initiative plans a workshop with scholars and practitioners to discuss an emerging school of thought it calls "political realism." The central thesis is that efforts to reduce corruption, improve transparency, and democratize political processes may have inadvertently undermined mechanisms that real-world political actors rely upon to govern and compromise. Co-led by Brookings scholars Elaine Kamarck and Jonathan Rauch, the convening will be an exploratory platform for addressing questions surrounding political realism. Its goals are: To identify and elaborate upon common elements of work of these scholars and practitioners; and to foster collaborative opportunities and informal networking.
About the Grantee
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Grants to this Grantee
for support of research on Congress
The Brookings Institution conducts independent, in-depth research that leads to pragmatic and innovative policy solutions. This grant enables the Brookings Governance Studies program to continue its research and analysis related to Congress and its ability to fulfill its constitutional and problem-solving responsibilities. The research team led by Senior Fellow Molly Reynolds will explore a range of congressional reforms, including ongoing efforts to modernize the House of Representatives and big-picture questions about the future of the Senate and its place in our democratic system. Other areas of focus include budget and appropriations process reform; congressional oversight; and congressional capacity, productivity, demographics, and related issues.
for research on federal government outsourcing
This grant supports a joint project between the Brookings Institution and the Niskanen Center to reevaluate federal government outsourcing from both conservative and liberal perspectives. Brookings and Niskanen will conduct transpartisan research focused on how decades-long outsourcing of federal government functions has diminished U.S. government capacity and damaged democratic governance. Previous analyses of government failures across both Republican and Democratic administrations have paid insufficient attention to how the growing gap between federal workforce and workload since 1960 has been made up largely by outside contractors, resulting in critical inadequacies in government staffing and state capacity. This study will examine problems and consequences of outsourcing, and propose practical remedies, by addressing fundamental research questions that would benefit most from even-handed approaches by both left and right.
for the Future of Democracy Project
Today’s hyperpartisan approach to politics is creating gridlock in Congress and division in the public. Political and social institutions are less and less able to function as gatekeepers and guardrails against rogue candidates and anti-social behavior. Extreme polarization makes compromising on differences and sharing the country increasingly difficult. Truth is contested ground. Facts are under attack. In a word, the United States is seeing a mounting crisis of governability. In response to these challenges, the Future of Democracy project will contribute research, writing, and recommendations on improving the governability of American society.