Professor Martin Gilens to Give Yale University's Storrs Lecture on Ailing Democracy

Friday, Feb 10, 2017

Martin Gilens, Professor of Politics and member of the CSDP Executive Committee, will deliver the Storrs Lecture at Yale University on March 20, 2017. 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. These annual lectures are given by a prominent scholar within the broad topic of fundamental problems with law and jurisprudence.