Roll Call: "Representing Is Hard. Online Town Forums Can Help."
Roll Call recently published an op-ed by the Connecting to Congress research team, "Representing Is Hard. Online Town Halls Can Help." The op-ed draws from the team’s reearch over 10 years, in which they convened non-partisan, deliberatively-faciliatated online town halls bringing together memembers of Congress and their constituents. The research, more fully documented in the book, Politics With the People: Building a Directly Representative Democracy, proved that deliberative events can help members of Congress to clearly understand the way the full range of their constituents think about an issue, and find this insight useful as they try to represent them amidst an ever-increasing flood of constituent communication. Furthermore, as the op-ed points out, individual lawmakers can also win individual rewards from participating in these kinds of events to promote collective trust in democracy: the members of Congress who participated in the study “saw bumps of ten or more points on ratings of their trustworthiness, empathy, competence — and most remarkably, in the votes they received from participating constituents four months later.”
Read the oped here.