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Joe Mathews

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Joe Mathews

Joe Mathews

Joe Mathews is California editor for Zócalo Public Square, a Los Angeles-based ideas exchange that combines daily humanities journalism and live events. He writes the syndicated Connecting California column for Zócalo and 26 media outlets around California.


Joe also serves as a professor of practice at Arizona State University’s School of Public Affairs, as fellow at ASU’s Center for Social Cohesion, and as co-president, with Bruno Kaufmann, of the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy – which brings together academics, journalists, activists and other experts on initiative, referenda, and new forms of deliberative and participatory democracy.

Joe is co-author, with Mark Paul, of “California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It” (University of California Press, 2010). His previous book was “The People’s Machine: Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Rise of Blockbuster Democracy” (PublicAffairs, 2006), an account of Governor Schwarzenegger’s first term and his use of ballot measures as governing tools.

Formerly a reporter at the LA Times, Wall Street Journal and Baltimore Sun, Joe has also served as Irvine senior fellow at the New America Foundation; as storyteller of the multi-stakeholder process known as the Delta Dialogues; as a contributing writer at The Los Angeles Times; as a blogger at Fox & Hounds Daily and NBC’s Prop Zero; and as radio and TV commentator on all things California. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Daily Beast, Pacific Standard, The American Prospect, Politico, NBC, the Scientific American, and Los Angeles magazine. Thus, Joe has become the leading writer and thinker on the practice and rules of direct democracy not only in California but the entire USA.

Check the Democracy Navigator for all instruments of direct democracy available in the United States, where Joe Mathews is from.  

Contact: mathews[at]

Joe interviewed:

In a series of interviews, we present to you the members of Democracy International's board. We start with Joe Mathews, California editor of Zócalo...


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