Dial D for Democracy

When the necessary technology is in place, an electronic town meeting as envisioned by Ross Perot could work. But is it a good idea?

Imagine it is 1994. The economy is still stagnating, Japan remains in the doldrums as well, interest rates are rising, and the deficit has reached $600 billion. Something has to be done -- and quickly. President Ross Perot, making good on a campaign promise, gets on the horn to the TV networks and organizes one of his famous electronic town meetings. That night, before a television audience Murphy Brown would die for, he lays out the nation's precarious economic situation and the stark choices the U.S. confronts. Even before his presentation is over, the returns begin to pour in -- by...

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