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The thinking voter

We should hold public holidays to discuss the issues before big votes

By Bruce Ackerman   May 2004

“Everything loose,” Frank Lloyd Wright once remarked, “slides toward southern California.” We should see Arnold Schwarzenegger’s triumph in the recall election there last year for what it is: a moment in a larger historical slide towards direct democracy. While it remains a novelty for voters to replace the chief executive in midstream, other aspects of direct democracy have become fixtures of western political practice. No nation would consider entering the EU without a popular referendum. No less remarkably, complex issues of economic policy have now been caught up by the same legitimating imperative: sober Swedes and Danes insist that they…

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