Are Americans losing faith in democracy?

Nick Robinson (Harvard): The Declining Dominance of Lawyers in U.S. Federal Politics. Confessions of a paywall journalist: Thanks to a booming trade press, lobbyists and other insiders know what’s happening in government — the rest of the country, not so much. John Sides on how Americans don’t trust government — but they still want government to do a lot. The people’s technocracy: Andrew Mayersohn reviews Smart Citizens, Smarter State: The Technologies of Expertise and the Future of Governing by Beth Simone Noveck. Is reforming democracy just a matter of fixing elections and Congress? Democracy needs engaged citizens and social movements — but they can’t substitute for a broken process of elections and representation.

Congress is a dysfunctional mess — but you should want to work there anyway. Lee Drutman on the growing conservative case for strengthening Congress. Scott Lemieux on why the raging dysfunction in Washington is the new normal. Are Americans losing faith in democracy? Yascha Mounk and Roberto Foa investigate. You can’t understand American politics without reading this study. We need to pay more attention to politics when we talk about the politics of fear. A surprising number of Americans endorse violence against the government — here’s why. The introduction to Liberty and Coercion: The Paradox of American Government from the Founding to the Present by Gary Gerstle.

From Cato Unbound, Sanford Levinson on “constitutional crises” (and responses). Alasdair S. Roberts (Missouri): How American Democracy Learns from Crisis. Anthony Johnstone (Montana): The Federalist Safeguards of Politics. Richard Kreitner on how the Constitution requires inequality: A careful reading of the Federalist Papers shows how the Founding Fathers intended for the system to protect the elite. John Voorheis (Oregon), Nolan McCarty (Princeton) and Boris Shor (Georgetown): Unequal Incomes, Ideology and Gridlock: How Rising Inequality Increases Political Polarization (and more).

Katy O’Donnell on the shadow budget: The main way Congress spends money every year isn’t the federal budget, it’s the tax code — and next year it's going to cost $1.3 trillion. How ethical is your state government? In all but three states, not very. How big is government in the United States? The Senate is so crazily designed it would be literally illegal for a US state to copy it. Julia Azari on how the American presidency is incredibly powerful.

From Politico, a guide to the thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics.