By Joe Mathews
The question might seem hypothetical, but I found it inescapable last week in Rome, where I ran a global forum on the future of direct democracy. Our forum’s mission was hopeful: Hundreds of participants, from 80-plus countries, discussed how to democratize the world’s democracies.
But each morning, I encountered the less-hopeful remains of fallen empires.
To reach Rome’s city hall, the conference site, I had to...