Raymond A. Smith

Raymond A. Smith, Ph.D., a senior fellow with the Progressive Policy Institute, teaches political science at Columbia and NYU and is author of Importing Democracy: Ideas from Around the World to Reform and Revitalize American Politics and Government.



By / 6.5.2013

The latest vacancy in the U.S. Senate, created by the death of Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, is a reminder of a rather obscure centennial that took place last week: the enactment of the 17th Amendment on May 31, 1913 and the peculiar practice of a state-level executive appointing a federal legislator. Until 1913, […]


By / 5.30.2013

If you think that dysfunction and elitism in the U.S. Senate are now at an all-time high, then this is a good time to recall that for the first 12 decades of American history, it was often much worse. It was on May 31, 1913 — exactly one hundred years ago  — that the 17th […]


By / 1.28.2013

National elections in the United States now stretch out over nearly 24 months, with each new electoral cycle seeming to start up almost as soon as the last has ended. By contrast, British law allows elections in the United Kingdom to last no more than 17 working days. In 2005, for instance, the electoral season […]

Op-eds and Articles

Writing for the Daily Beast, PPI Senior Fellow Raymond A. Smith lays out policies to improve our presidential elections. President Obama’s second inauguration last week capped a long electoral cycle that began almost two years ago, in early 2011. The stupendous length and cost of America’s presidential elections is a wonder to the world – […]

Op-eds and Articles

Writing for the New York Times, PPI Senior Fellow Raymond A. Smith argues for strengthening the role of the president’s cabinet. EVERY four years the cabinet briefly becomes the focus of national attention in December and January — only to fade from view again after Inauguration Day. True, individual cabinet secretaries will be in the […]


By / 5.10.2012

The job of the presidency has grown so large, so overwhelming in its power and responsibility, that no one human being can excel in all its many dimensions, from the ceremonial to the political, from making policy to managing a vast bureaucracy. In an atmosphere of bitter partisan division and a 24-hour news environment, presidents […]