About Modern Power
Government can be effective… and there’s a lot of room for improvement.
Modern Power is a newsletter from Effective Government California that focuses on how things get done in politics and in government.
We reject the right-wing assertion that Government is the enemy, and we reject the left-wing practice of tying down Government with endless procedure.
We can do better, and we can get to Yes.
Our Institutions Are Not Delivering
It is no secret that America’s governing institutions are not delivering.
It’s not just polarization, and it’s not just Trump: California is a solidly blue state with wealth, innovation, and resources, but our state’s governing institutions don’t deliver either.
In recent years, the YIMBY movement has made real progress in starting to solve one of the state’s biggest problems — a lack of housing.
We are focused on building on that movement, to tackle California’s other major challenges including climate, homelessness, and wildfires.
Modern Power will build on our behind the curtain findings, and the YIMBY template to help solve the problems of our day.
How Political Power Works
We will teach you how Modern Power is built and exercised in America, for free. You can read more about our approach and goals for this newsletter here.
Why should you care how political power works? Because it dictates how we take action on the pressing issues of our time (e.g. housing, homelessness, climate, etc.)
In ways we’ll detail, the existing incentives in our system don’t lead the currently powerful players to solve these problems. The only way that will change is if more citizens become empowered to take collective action and pull the levers of power ourselves.
Most of us know politics only via the highly consumerized ritual of elections, amped up by overbearing political news. Fox vs MSNBC.
This is the “consumer” experience of politics that we all know feels broken. It is broken. But it is not real politics. It is a thin replacement for participatory democracy that has not been practiced in America within living memory.
Behind the Curtain
Real politics — real power — lives on, but is craftily obscured behind a curtain. Unless you are friends with a political leader with power, it is impossible today to see and understand how politics works and power is exercised.
But good news — we are fully behind the curtain and will be publishing what we learn.
We are writing through the lens of power because it is the clearest and simplest short-hand to understand the physics of the system for politics. Power is how professionals think about politics.
We will post 2-3x a week on how professional politics actually works, centered around California state & local political markets, which is where we live and operate politically.