About Democracy and Other Problems.

This is my new Substack. I’m excited. I will be sharing challenging and unusual takes on the democratic idea—and extensions and refinements of my theory of “democratic minimalism” which I outline in my new book The Problem of Democracy (You can read an excerpt in The Atlantic here— “Can Democracy Exist Without Liberalism?”). I’m also excited about building a community where I can interact, discuss, and debate with readers more directly outside of the chaos and bad feeling of Twitter.

Why become a paid subscriber?

Some posts will be free and available to all. Some posts will be paywalled, particularly the ones where I’m still experimenting with unformed ideas. I do like the idea of restricting readers to those who are committed to good faith exploration of deep difference. In the new year and with your support, I will begin hosting subscriber-only threads and chats as well as trying out new things with audio.

And now on to content and substance:

I believe that the question of what to do when democracy produces “bad” outcomes is the fundamental political question of our time. This is dear to me. It’s, in a sense, personal. I was on the side that lost a great debate. For now. I want to have a particular space—this space—to write more about democratic minimalism for and to people who are ready and willing to re-orient their own understanding of democracy and why (or whether) it is good. Can the “problem” of democracy be resolved?

I don't mean to sound like a preacher, but I hope that some of you will read about "democratic minimalism" and adopt it as a way of practicing democracy, including right here at home. But I also hope you will use this space to challenge, criticize, and push back.

My book The Problem of Democracy: America, the Middle East, and the Rise and Fall of an Idea is available here.

I write a monthly essay on culture, politics, and religion for The Atlantic, which you can find here.

I’m also the co-host of Wisdom of Crowds with my good friend Damir Marusic, arguably the most eloquent and brilliant Croatian-American essayist of his generation. The pod is available on all major platforms, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Subscribe to Shadi Hamid

A newsletter committed to exploring how and why democracy produces "bad" outcomes—and what to do about it. And other things that may or may not be completely unrelated to that.


Shadi Hamid 

Columnist & Editorial Board member at The Washington Post. Co-founder of Wisdom of Crowds. My new book is THE PROBLEM OF DEMOCRACY: http://amzn.to/3Q15rwC.