Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)

Reader 1

George Thomas

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I have set out on the hunch that politics in America “feels different,” that we are frustrated both with our institutions as well as with one another. First, I will seek to empirically verify this claim beyond mere “feelings.” If it can be shown that these kinds of discontent genuinely exist to the extent that I believe they do, I will then explain why people feel this way and why things are different this time from the economic, political, and social points of view. Next, I will examine two potential responses, what I will call the populist and the institutional response, to remedy these defects and get the country back on track. Finally, I will argue that reforming institutions is the best way to fix institutions, and that a serious commitment to doing so beyond our current understanding of reform is what will be necessary to repair our democracy.