Friday, February 3, 2017

Professor Martin Gilens to Give Storrs Lecture on Ailing Democracy

Martin Gilens, Professor of Politics at Princeton University, will deliver the Storrs Lecture on March 20, 2017, at 4:30 pm, in the Faculty Lounge. His lecture is titled “America’s Ailing Democracy: What’s Gone Wrong and What We Can Do About It.”

“America faces many daunting problems—stagnant wages, high health care costs, neglected schools, deteriorating public services. Yet, our government often seems to ignore the needs of its citizens,” said Gilens. “Policymakers pay more attention to organized interests than to ordinary Americans, our political parties are dominated by ideological activists, and our government gets bogged down in partisan gridlock and inaction.”

In his lecture, Gilens will propose a solution: increased equal opportunity for citizens to shape what their government does, specifically in election reform, changing the rules of governing institutions, and restricting the power of private money in politics.

“By forcing political parties and officeholders to respond to the preferences of ordinary Americans,” Gilens adds, “we can reduce polarization and gridlock, address pressing challenges, and enact policies that better reflect the interests of average Americans.”

Professor Gilens’s research examines representation, public opinion, and mass media, as they relate to inequality and public policy. Professor Gilens is the author of Affluence & Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America and Why Americans Hate Welfare: Race, Media and the Politics of Antipoverty Policy. His latest book, Democracy in America? What Has Gone Wrong and What We Can Do About It (with Benjamin I. Page), will be released in the fall of 2017. Professor Gilens is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and taught at Yale University and UCLA before joining the faculty at Princeton.

The Storrs Lectures, one of Yale Law School's oldest and most prestigious lecture programs, were founded in 1889. The fund was established through the gift of the Misses Eliza T. and Mary A. Robinson in memory of their great-uncle, the Honorable William L. Storrs, B.A. 1814, at one time Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut and professor at Yale Law School. These annual lectures are given by a prominent scholar within the broad topic of fundamental problems with law and jurisprudence.