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Maxwell Stearns with Mark Smith

Transforming America's Democracy

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Thursday, April 4
7:30 pm PDT
$5 – $25 Sliding Scale
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The Wyncote NW Forum
1119 8th Ave (Entrance off Seneca St.)
Seattle, 98101 United States
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22 and Under

Town Hall events are approximately 75 minutes long.

Book cover: Title at the top says "Parliamentary America." An image of the White House dome is underneath with the sub-title "The Least Radical Means of Radically Repairing Our Broken Democracy."
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Parliamentary America: The Least Radical Means of Radically Repairing Our Broken Democracy

Phinney Books

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Headshots of Maxwell Stearns and Mark Smith

Can a parliamentary democracy end America’s constitutional crisis?

It’s starting to feel to some people that American elections aren’t offering us much choice, instead compounding the continued issues of our outdated voting system and showing our lack of capacity to face common issues together.

In Parliamentary America, Maxwell L. Stearns argues that the solution to these complex problems is a parliamentary democracy. Stearns considers alternatives such as ranked choice voting, the national popular vote, and congressional term limits, showing why these can’t solve our constitutional crisis. Instead, three amendments—expanding the House of Representatives, having House party coalitions choose the president, and letting the House end a failing presidency based on no confidence—will produce a robust multiparty democracy. These amendments hold an essential advantage over other proposals: by leaving every member of the House and Senate as incumbents in their districts or states, the amendments provide a pressure-release valve against reforms threatening that status.

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Stearns takes readers on a world tour—England, France, Germany, Israel, Taiwan, Brazil, and Venezuela—showing what works in government, what doesn’t, and how to make the best features our own. Genuine party competition and governing coalitions, commonplace across the globe, may seem like a fantasy in the United States, but Stearns offers an optimistic vision, explaining in accessible terms how to transform our troubled democracy into a thriving parliamentary America.

Maxwell L. Stearns is the Venable, Baetjer & Howard Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law. He has authored dozens of articles and several books on the Constitution, the Supreme Court, and the economic analysis of law.

Before joining the faculty at the University of Washington in 1997, Mark Alan Smith completed his undergraduate degree in economics at M.I.T. and earned his Ph.D. in political science at the University of Minnesota. He is Professor of Political Science and Adjunct Professor of Communication and Comparative Religion at the UW. Smith’s research and teaching focuses on American domestic politics, including religion, public opinion, political communication, political parties, and public policy. He is the author of four books, most recently Right from Wrong: Why Religion Fails and Reason Succeeds. He is a regular commentator on national and state politics for various media outlets. 

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