Getting from “Here to There” Redux
Much of this book has been devoted to describing a promising new strategy for improving the way we run elections: a Democracy Index. The Democracy Index is a quintessentially here-to-there solution. It doesn't impose standards on how our elections are run. It doesn't take power away from partisan officials. It doesn't professionalize the bureaucracy that runs our elections. Instead, it pushes in the direction of better performance, less partisanship, and greater professionalism. By giving voters, policymakers, and election administrators the right information in the right form, it creates the conditions in which bigger and better reform is possible.
The Index is of a piece with a larger shift in reform movement. New York Times editorialist David Brooks could be describing many of the people in this book when he writes about the new generation of social entrepreneurs:
These thoroughly modern do-gooders dress like venture capitalists.
They talk like them. They even think like them.… Almost willfully
blind to ideological issues, they will tell you, even before you have a
chance to ask, that they are data-driven and accountability-oriented.1
Ian Ayres has argued that “supercrunchers”—the masters of data-driven analysis—are involved in almost every aspect of our lives, from wine ratings to plane tickets. His book has made the New York Times best-seller list and is being translated into eleven languages. Cass Sunstein and Richard