California, Democracy, And Progress

Last week I published the first proposal on Democracy & Progress, my new public policy blog. It's about Democracy Vouchers and how California should adopt them.

You should read the post, then please consider subscribing. The blog is in its initial launch phase, so your subscription means more than it normally would.

I've been wanting to write about policy for a long time, but I could never quite figure out the tone or the topic scope. I finally settled on the idea of discussing California politics through the lens of improving and promoting democracy. It's a big topic, and there's a lot to discuss, so I hope you'll follow along and let me know what you think.

Over the last few years, I've become pretty immersed in the policy world's conversations. I read a lot of policy books, articles and papers, I follow a lot of political writers, and I listen to a lot of politics podcasts. Over time, I started to develop my own policy outlook and then I wanted to participate in the conversation to add what I thought was a different angle on the discussion. Last year I started writing Op-Eds and publishing some in my local paper, but also I wanted to do more than that. I just couldn't figure out what my angle would be, what kinds of topics or ideas I wanted to cover, and through what lens I would cover them.

A few years back, while listening to the Ezra Klein Show, Ezra lamented that we as a society didn't spend more time focusing on local and state politics—where our time and energy is often better spent. Collectively, we don't focus on state and local politics, and yet it's only there where a lot of policy solutions can be done. That conversation stuck with me, and over time the drive to write about state politics has only gotten deeper. It was last summer, when I read All Politics is Local, that the idea for what would become D&P really started to form.

While I was scoping out the policy-blog space, I did a lot of searching around and while I found lots of medium to long-form policy blogs focusing on the national federal government (a lot of which I was already following), I didn't find a lot of the same thing at the state level. It was then I realized I had found my niche.

Politics can be a difficult thing to discuss in public, so that's why I wanted to focus on policy, not politics. Hopefully the blog can stay far away from the concerns of the day and avoid kindling a partisan fervor. At D&P, we're going to focus on solutions. California is a solidly Democratic state (the party not the governing strategy), so partisan squabbling is less of an issue—which is a blessing—but there are still plenty of difficult issues.

As part of my work for D&P, I've started compiling a list of resources for people to help them follow California politics. I know I wish I'd had something like this to get me started, so hopefully I can pay it forward.

Please consider giving D&P a follow in your favorite feed reader via RSS, on Twitter @dem_and_prog, or sign up for the newsletter. Here's to a better, more policy focused California.

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