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.


Op-eds and Articles

By / 7.21.2014

At a time when observers across the political spectrum agree that the machinery of American government is broken, the single most powerful mechanism for repair appears to be effectively off the table: the passage of new amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Yet this might be the only solution that could bring about sustained change and […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 6.13.2014

The release of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s new book once again underscores the unending interest in her as a 2016 candidate. But just what is it that makes her such a formidable front-runner? One important answer is that although Hillary is not the first presidential candidate to be perceived as an heir apparent, as a standard-bearer, […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 2.28.2014

As the nation binges on Season 2 of “House of Cards,” we have witnessed ruthless House Majority Whip Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) maneuver for the vice president to resign and for himself to be appointed to the position. It’s no spoiler to say that Underwood clearly won’t be content to remain a heartbeat away from […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 2.3.2014

Just how close is the Tea Party to its demise? Last week, Fox News didn’t even bother airing the group’s official response to Barack Obama’s speech, in which the president forcefully called for an end to tactics that prevent the government “from carrying out even the most basic functions of our democracy.” Even Speaker of the […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 1.3.2014

With the U.S. still barely recovered from to al partisan gridlock and political dysfunction, Germany has once again formed a “grand coalition” bringing together the two main center-right and center-left parties, which collectively won more than 70% of the vote in last September’s parliamentary elections. The biggest sticking point? Figuring out the best mechanism for determining the country’s minimum wage. How […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 12.17.2013

The passing of Nelson Mandela marks nearly the end of the generation of great leaders who presided over the astonishing half-decade of 1989-1994, when the post-World War II status quo came to a resounding and surprisingly bloodless conclusion with the collapse of Communism in Europe and Apartheid in South Africa. The death of Margaret Thatcher […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 11.26.2013

The filibuster is back in the news, but that’s just one of the peculiarities that make the U.S. Senate perhaps the world’s oddest legislative chamber. When viewed from an international perspective, three other features — the extraordinary scope of its powers, its drastic misapportionment, and the exceptional weakness of its leadership structures — make the U.S. […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 10.11.2013

If you think a few days of “government shutdown” in the U.S. is bad, consider that in 2010-2011, Belgium had a political crisis that prevented formation of a government for 589 days. What may be most surprising, though, is that the Belgians found a way to keep their government programs and services running without serious […]


By / 6.13.2013

The poor showing of the G.O.P. among Latino voters in 2012 is the political subtext for much of the immigration debate in Congress this week. But Republicans also consider the impact of their words and deeds on the nation’ s fastest growing demographic: Asian-American voters, who are at least as invested in the immigration issue […]


By / 6.6.2013

Including yesterday’s appointment of Jeffrey Chiesa, there have been 21 gubernatorial appointments to fill U.S. Senate seats since 1993 — nine resulting from deaths and 12 from resignations. So how does the New Jerseyan fit into the overall pattern? In 18 of the 20 appointments before Chiesa, the newly named Senators were of the same […]