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Power to the party: Why political reforms can be bad for democracy:The Democratic committee man from Michigan had something to say about punctuation.

“At the end of that paragraph,” said Barry Goodman, a member of the DNC’s rules and bylaws committee, “the P for public should be capitalized if party is capitalized with a P.”

DNC members were slogging through the tedious work of refining a public statement at their March 8 meeting in Washington, D.C. Goodman, a personal injury lawyer from Detroit, wanted to make sure that both words were capitalized “just so we don’t look like public and party are different in terms of importance.”

Goodman meant well, but his sentiments revealed a common but profound misunderstanding about American politics. Most people think of political parties as powerful, when in fact they have been losing power for 50 years.

Populism is popular these days, and many Americans like Goodman want to make the political system more fair. They want to empower the average voter and reduce the influence of the wealthiest. But it’s become increasingly clear to many that anti-party reforms have gone too far and are now having a multitude of negative impacts on our politics, even as idealists push for still more reductions of party power.

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Power to the party: Why political reforms can be bad for democracy:The Democratic committee man from Michigan had something to say about punctuation.

“At the end of that paragraph,” said Barry Goodman, a member of the DNC’s rules and bylaws committee, “the P for public should be capitalized if party is capitalized with a P.”

DNC members were slogging through the tedious work of refining a public statement at their March 8 meeting in Washington, D.C. Goodman, a personal injury lawyer from Detroit, wanted to make sure that both words were capitalized “just so we don’t look like public and party are different in terms of importance.”