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It is obviously no longer controversial that the American political system, especially at the national level, is seriously dysfunctional. Consider, for example, what are nearly the opening words-after noting that the United States Capitol is currently enfolded by scaffolding for repair of the physical building-of the distinguished Columbia political scientist and historian Ira Katznelson's recent contribution to a Boston Review forum on "Anxieties of Democracy." Even if "[r]estoration is underway, its conclusion in sight," repair of the institutions inside the Capitol seems a long way off, if it is even possible.

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