Sometimes that means thoughtful citizen legislators. Sometimes that means people who would otherwise be yelling at the TV at the end of the bar. And the nuttiness can’t be blamed entirely on one party or the other; the legislature is nearly evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats.
“Any horrible thing you can think of has probably happened in the New Hampshire House,” said Jay Surdukowski, an attorney and Democratic activist from Concord who co-chaired Martin O’Malley’s 2016 presidential campaign in the state. “We’re a fucking hot mess here.”
Over breakfast one morning in Dover, Cullen, who sits on the city council, told me there are some advantages to a state government that is “almost like having a jury of your peers.” And in general, he said, the work product is “not bad.”
On the other hand, Cullen said, it can be challenging to find people even to run for office, or to find people who are “willing to serve, able to serve and reasonably capable.”
He skipped the dinner with Halperin and Cox. What they were proposing, he said, brought to mind the hovering balconies of the Galactic Senate’s cavernous chambers in one of the Star Wars movies.
In the film, things didn’t end well for the forces of democracy.
Signs Americans might be open to some kind of change in the political system are everywhere. Polling suggests broad dissatisfaction with what they have now — the candidates, both political parties and political institutions as a whole. In a Pew Research Center study earlier this year, just 4 percent of U.S. adults said the political system works extremely well, while more than 60 percent expressed little or no confidence in it. There would, it seems, be room for improvement, and some ideas have found legs.