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No Wonder So Many Are Disillusioned by Our Politics -- We've Got an 18th Century Political System

It’s time for American patriots to roll up our sleeves and get to work to reform our political institutions.

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Not only do I propose specific reforms, but I discuss ways to enact them and provide at the end of each chapter a list of organizations that already are working on these reforms. By parsing the big picture into smaller bite-size pieces suitable for activism, 10 Steps provides a roadmap for moving forward. 

As the New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg says in the foreword, 10 Steps shows “that there actually is a way we can keep faith with our Founding Fathers. And it’s not to pretend that the particular political improvisations and compromises they came up with more than two centuries ago—brilliant and clever though they were in the context of their times—provide the answer to every question. No, the way to honor the Founders is not to worship them. It’s to imitate them. It’s to do what they did: diagnose what’s wrong; be fearless about innovation; learn from experience; design political mechanisms with a view to taking account of human imperfection and marshaling the self-interest of politicians for the common good. The question isn’t, ‘What, way back when, did Jefferson (and Madison and Hamilton) do? The question is, What would they do now?’ The answers begin here.”

So it’s time for American patriots to roll up our sleeves and get to work. I believe these are commonsense changes, most of them are already working in other nations and in some parts of the United States. I’m certain that the Founders and Framers of our nation, being the enlightened pragmatists that they were, would have applauded efforts to modernize their eighteenth century political creation and make it into one that lives up to the lofty rhetoric and aspirations of their astonishing age.  The challenge before us of remaking American democracy is an epic one. The brightness of our national future depends on our success. But Americans have risen to great challenges before, and I believe we will again.

Steven Hill ( is a political writer, cofounder of FairVote and former director of the political reform program at the New America Foundation. Besides Alternet, his articles have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, The Nation, Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, Ms., Sierra, American Prospect, Truthdig and many others, and he has quoted and interviewed by media around the world, including the BBC, Democracy Now, C-Span, Fox News, Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, National Public Radio, Sirius and many others.