Reader’s Forum – Lou Hinman on Democracy in the Time of Coronavirus

Lou Hinman

One great merit of Dr. Danielle Allen’s book Democracy in the Time of Coronavirus is that it spells out briefly, in clear, concise language what a competent, effective, “integrative” response to the coronavirus pandemic in the United States would have looked like, and why we failed to achieve it.

Most political activists, like myself, are so caught up in trying to impact on the horrific misgovernance by the Democratic and Republican duopoly, that it’s quite refreshing to hear a thoughtful, qualified thinker about policy frankly and dispassionately remind us what good governance in a democracy should look like.

The other great merit of Dr. Allen’s book is that she shows that this failure of governance was inevitable, and doesn’t follow from any lack of policy expertise (which, her book makes clear, is available in abundance from clear thinking people like herself and her colleagues). It follows, instead, from the collapse of the social contract, and lack of trust in our political system. The pandemic did not produce these problems, but it casts a harsh new light on what lies in store for us if we don’t address them.

I think it’s clear from Dr. Allen’s conclusions that the point of address must be, not defeating Donald Trump or any other politician, but strengthening our democracy across the board. There are many ideas about how to do this, but this is where we have to start.  

A rebuilt social contract is inseparable from building the new, inclusive social and political institutions that can create it (and will, in turn, be empowered and strengthened by the process of creation).

My own view is that of the many special interests that are making an inclusive democracy (that is, a real democracy) impossible, the most destructive are the Democratic and Republican parties themselves. There are 26 million registered voters in America that cannot vote in the partisan primaries, and this effectively make makes it impossible for new political coalitions (and therefore, a new social contract) to be formed. I submit that without open primaries and ballot access reform – at a minimum – we don’t stand a chance.

Lou Hinman lives in New York City and upstate NY and is an activist with and a member of The People House of Delegates.

Join Politics for the People Founder, Cathy Stewart for a

Virtual Discussion with

Dr. Danielle Allen

Tuesday, June 21st @ 3pm ET

Register Here!

Founder of the Politics for the People free educational series and book club for independent voters. Chair of the New York County Independence Party.

One thought on “Reader’s Forum – Lou Hinman on Democracy in the Time of Coronavirus

  1. As usual, Mr. Hinman gets right to the heart of it. His message to Independent Voters sounds a lot like the old saying, “If it is to be it is up to me.” Substitute “us” for the last word.

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