June 16, 2020

Fixing Democracy Banner

What explains the gap between what We, the People want and what our elected leaders do? How can we fix our politics before it's too late? And how can we truly understand the state of our democracy without wanting to crawl under a rock? That's what former Obama speechwriter David Litt set out to answer in his much-anticipated new book, "Democracy in One Book or Less: How It Works, Why It Doesn't, and Why Fixing It Is Easier Than You Think.

Poking into forgotten corners of history, translating political science into plain English, and traveling the country to meet experts and activists, Litt explains how the world’s greatest experiment in democracy went awry. Yet despite his clear-eyed assessment of the dangers we face, he remains “refreshingly optimistic” (Kirkus Reviews).

Litt was joined by Valerie Jarrett, his former Obama White House boss, to discuss bold changes that are within our grasp and how to restore the balance of power in this country before it’s too late.

This event was produced in partnership with New York University's John Brademas Center and the Brennan Center for Justice.

Brennan Center Brademas Center Logos

Valerie Jarrett

p.c. Fabio Camara

VALERIE JARRETT, Senior Distinguished Fellow, University of Chicago Law School; former senior advisor to President Barack Obama

Valerie B. Jarrett is a senior advisor to the Obama Foundation and Attn, a Senior Distinguished Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School, and President of the Board of When We All Vote. She also serves on the boards of Ariel Investments, 2U, Lyft, the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, and the Economic Club of Chicago.

David Litt

p.c. Lawrence Jackson

Democracy in one big book or less

DAVID LITT, Author and former speech writer for President Obama

David Litt is the New York Times best-selling author of Thanks, Obama: My Hopey Changey White House Years. From 2011-2016, David wrote speeches for President Obama, and was described as "the comic muse for the president" for his work on the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Since leaving the White House, he served as the head writer and producer for Funny Or Die's office in Washington, with a focus on improving youth turnout in the 2018 election, and is currently developing a sitcom based on his life in D.C.  He frequently appears on CNN and MSNBC to discuss current events. 

Democracy in One Book or Less: How It Works, Why It Doesn't, and Why Fixing It Is Easier Than You Think (2020)

Bill Bryson meets Thomas Frank in this deeply insightful, unexpectedly hilarious story of how politicians hijacked American democracy and how we can take it back