Academic Year 2012-2013
Bruce E. Cain is a Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and Director
Designate of the Bill Lane Center for the American West. His research covers many topics including political regulation, voting behavior, representation, ethnic and racial politics democratic theory, and state government. His work appears in both political science and law journals. Professor Cain is on the Editorial Board of the Election Law Journal, and is the co-convener of the Law and Politics group of the American Political Science Association.
Fixing US Democracy
I will be writing a book on US political regulation that argues that American political reform often assumes that maximizing democratic values and opportunities will lead to more democratic and effective outcomes. In fact, this is mostly true for issues at the lower boundary of democracy (i.e. the threshold between non-democratic and democratic forms), less true in the democratic interval (i.e. the realm of competing democratic values and equally valid forms) and demonstrably problematic at the democracy’s upper boundary when democratic opportunities exceed citizen capacities. This has important implications for a healthy ecology of political reform and the role the courts can play in improving democracy.