Distrust continues to grow between the public and the institutions of
self-government, and democratic values are under threat. Populism did not cause this crisis, but our democratic institutions emerged in an
environment very different from our world of today. The emergence of a large, unregulated digital commons, where a customized media
marketplace and combative dialogue thrives, and the failure of an
insider establishment to address the dislocations of globalization and
rapid technological change, have corroded the shared narratives and
values that hold democratic societies together.
Within this crisis of democracy, however, is an opportunity. Citizens
yearn for deeper connection to policy-making and their community, and digital technologies can provide it. Inviting the broader civil
society into governance through new mediating institutions—such as
citizen assemblies that complement representative government—can mend the breach between institutions and their people. We call this
“participation without populism.”
Bringing together public leaders and thinkers, the Renovating
Democracy theme is reimagining democratic institutions to meet the
challenges of the 21st century, placing the citizen at the center of
the democratic process.