In theory, as representatives of the people, members of Congress should pay attention to what their constituents think.

But, as we’ve seen, the majority of the country can be for something – UBI, or term limits – and legislators ignore the will of the people.

Instead of capturing the will of the people using flawed polling systems that are often ignored anyway, Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig advocates for a more robust system of civic juries utilizing Deliberative Polling, a system first developed by Stanford professor James Fishkin.

What does this involve? It’s simple - get a group of voters (a “civic jury”) together to weigh various policy options, with experts presenting various viewpoints. The group would report its viewpoints both at the beginning and at the end of the deliberation process, and the shifts in their thinking would be taken as a direction for policymakers.

Countries such as Iceland, Mongolia, and Ireland have used these civic juries to suggest constitutional amendments. The reporting around the findings of these juries tends to lead to a broader understanding of important issues. The media and politicians pay attention to the outcomes, and legislation results that better reflects the will of the people.

These civic juries can also be made to better reflect the population - Congress, after all, does not much look like a representative set of Americans on any of a host of dimensions: age, gender, wealth, education, race, etc. The natural authority of this group could steer legislation and the national conversation in important directions.

Problems to be Solved:

  • Opinion polls lack the depth, breadth, and legitimacy to steer legislation.
  • Elected officials often ignore the will of the people.
  • Elected officials don’t reflect the diverse demographics of modern American along any dimension.
  • Americans don’t often get a chance to voice their opinions in a meaningful way outside of voting for candidates that have already been selected by the parties.

“It’s entirely feasible to simply convene a group of truly representative Americans and determine what they think about an issue."

-Andrew Yang


  • Convene “civic juries” made up of representative groups of Americans to deliberate on key issues and legislation.
  • Commit to debating and voting on any policy proposals put forward by this group.

If this sounds like the future you want to build for America, consider donating today!


Do you agree?