What Is the Democratic Function of the White House's We The People Petition Website?
Originally published: October 20, 2011
Last updated: October 20, 2011 - 6:50pm
[Commentary] The democratic purpose of the We The People website should not be to poll public opinion on hot button issues. It should be to help put new issues on the public agenda that aren't already there by making it easier for politically underrepresented groups to mobilize themselves. In the technical language of political science, it is to use new information technology to help solve collective action problems. If only one of twenty petitions with the necessary signatures gets acted upon and results in a good law, I'd suggest that the White House's petition website is a wild success.