Blogs

Presented by The Bridge Alliance Education Fund.

Bridge Alliance members can email blog posts to Jeremy@BridgeAllianceFund.us


Cynicism and Hope -- Our Work in the Revitalization Movement

Posted by Jeremy Garson on November 09, 2018 at 3:59 PM

Early this year, NBC News published a survey about Millennials and their thoughts on the future of our nation. The results of the survey were striking -- a clear majority (63%) of Millennials thought the country was on the wrong track, but the same number (63%) felt like they could make a difference by getting involved in politics. An even larger majority (75%) felt that community groups could make a real difference. In other words, Millennials were simultaneously pessimistic about the future of the country and optimistic about the potential for change.

As a Millennial myself, these borderline contradictory beliefs mirror mine quite well. I see a nation ruthlessly divided into overtly hostile political factions; two parties that seem content to weaken our democratic institutions in the name of partisan policy wins; and precious few (any?) national leaders who seem genuinely interested in bringing the country together. I also don’t think keeping Party X in power or voting in overwhelming numbers to take back power for Party Y will solve anything -- as I said in my post Country Before Party, I don’t think forcing one group’s vision for the nation onto the nation as a whole is a sustainable, or intelligent, strategy.

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Building Momentum at the Midterms

Posted by American Promise on November 02, 2018 at 4:56 PM

Reposted from AmericanPromise.net

Projections show that more than $5 billion will be spent on the 2018 elections, a record amount that breaks down to $15 for every American or $60 for every voter in the 2014 midterm elections. All that money reflects the high stakes as Republicans and Democrats battle for control of Congress. While just more than a third of eligible voters showed up at the polls in 2014—the lowest in a midterm since World War II—election watchers expect voter turnout to be higher this time around.

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My Inspiring First Week: Bridge Alliance Summit and NCoC Recap

Posted by Shakira Mills on October 29, 2018 at 12:13 PM

October 16, 2018 kicked off the annual Bridge Alliance Members Summit followed by the NCoC’s Conference on Citizenship -- both in Washington, D.C. Hundreds of members and non-members from all over the country were invited to attend, which was reflected by the number and variety of people that filled the Marriott conference room. What was advertised as three days of convening and networking ended up being four days of genuine idea sharing and aggressive encouragement around the true power of civic engagement. As the newest intern for the Bridge Alliance and a first time attendee of a conference so large, I was stunned by the level of influence and sincerity that I witnessed throughout the week.

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Proposal to Ban Classroom Political Discussions Will Only Hurt Students and Civil Discourse

Posted by John Gable on October 21, 2018 at 6:52 PM

By John Gable and Joan Blades (with a contribution from Julie Mastrine), AllSides.com. Reposted from AllSides for Schools

A Pennsylvania proposal to ban political discussion in the classroom aims to prevent political indoctrination — but it would only facilitate it.

Will Tallman’s (R) “Teacher Code of Ethics” bill would ban educators from endorsing or opposing political candidates or issues in the classroom and from discussing pending or enacted legislation, court cases or executive orders.

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Then what, Bezos?

Posted by Nick Penniman on October 15, 2018 at 1:11 PM

By Nick Penniman, Issue One. Reposted from IssueOne.org

The world’s richest man just made a significant foray into both political giving and philanthropy. In the span of a few weeks, Jeff Bezos has committed $10 million to a cross-partisan political action committee working to elect military veterans who have pledged to put “principles before politics,” and $2 billion to create his Day One Fund to combat homelessness and boost early-childhood education.  

These are noble moves. But there’s another piece of the puzzle I’d encourage him to consider: transforming the political system itself. Our political system is broken, and it is the source of much of the inequality and dysfunction he’s trying to cure.

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When the City Comes for Your Home-Based Business: Overzealous regulators are targeting yoga teachers, accountants and even YouTube video creators

Posted by Shoshana Weissmann on October 01, 2018 at 1:08 PM

By C. Jarrett Dieterle & Shoshana Weissmann, R Street Institute. Reposted from the Wall Street Journal

Chandler, Ariz.—a city of some 250,000 southeast of Phoenix—describes itself as “built on entrepreneurial spirit.” You could forgive Kim O’Neil for not buying it.

Ms. O’Neil and her family are longtime residents of Chandler. Until recently she ran a medical-billing company in the town. For years she worked out of leased office space, but when Ms. O’Neil’s father became ill in 2013 she moved the business to her home. After her father died in 2015, she continued to run the business out of her house, because she could fulfill her work obligations while caring for her elderly mother.

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Ten Critiques (And Defenses) On Approval Voting

Posted by Aaron Hamlin on September 21, 2018 at 6:43 PM

By Aaron Hamlin, The Center for Election Science. Reposted from ElectionScience.org

Getting Started

Dig into voting methods and it won’t be long before you find criticism on different approaches. Approval voting (choose one or more, the candidate with the most votes wins) is no different. Unfortunately, analyzing voting methods—even when the methods themselves are simple—can get complicated.

To further complicate matters, we know through Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem that ranking (ordinal) methods must all fail some basic criteria that we’d prefer they not. Another theorem, the Gibbard-Satterthwaite theorem, shows that no voting method (beyond dictatorship or lottery) is immune to tactical voting.

Where does that leave us when evaluating a voting method?

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New bipartisan poll confirms urgency to fix our democracy

Posted by Nick Penniman on September 13, 2018 at 4:45 PM

By Nick Penniman, Issue One. Reposted from Issue One.

Poll after poll confirms: Americans think our democracy is broken. And they are right.

But this new, bipartisan poll, called the “Democracy Project Report,” should really turn heads because it shows just how broad that sentiment is — and why now is the time to support real solutions to the crisis facing our democracy.

The new poll is the joint effort of the George W. Bush CenterThe Penn Biden Centerand Freedom House that engaged both Republican and Democratic pollsters before reaching their conclusions.

What did they find? That this “crisis of confidence” in American democracy is shared by the right and left. Although Americans still want to live in a democracy, 55 percent see ours as weak, and 68 percent see it as getting weaker.

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The Politics of Friendship

Posted by Clarissa Unger on September 07, 2018 at 3:20 PM

By Clarissa Unger, Young Invincibles.

This article was originally published on Forbes.com for Civic Nation's ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. 

There’s something happening in our country. Partisan politics seem to divide us more than ever. We see divisive rhetoric and actions around issues like immigration, health care, taxes, and almost everything in between. This divide paralyzes our elected officials, keeping them from passing legislation at every level of government. It even prevents many of us from forming friendships or meaningful relationships with people that hold political perspectives different than our own. A polarized populace unable to reach across the aisle or even across the fence is not the America that we have been raised to believe in, or what I believe any of us really want.

The promise of America, of our democracy, has never been a guarantee. It requires something of each of us. If we want a government that represents us, we have to participate. And we have to work together, despite differences in perspectives or political ideology.

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Protecting Our Democracy: The Obligation of Leadership

Posted by Thom Little on August 31, 2018 at 4:43 PM

By Thom Little, Ph.D., State Legislative Leaders Foundation (SLLF).

More than two centuries ago, fifty-five men from across thirteen American colonies established a government like none other before, a government where power was bestowed not by birth right or by armed might, but by consent. A democracy. The governed had, by the power of their voice and their vote, the right to determine who would govern them and accordingly, the right to remove them as necessary. Thus began what Alexis de Tocqueville described as “the great experiment” to see if man was truly capable of self government.

With a lot of hard work, good leadership and not a little bit of luck, this government has endured- it has survived some less than competent and noble leaders and irrational decisions made out of fear, racism, sexism, partisanship and just plain ignorance. It has survived wars internal and external. It has, although not without pain, hardship and some serious missteps, integrated peoples of different races, ethnicities, identities and philosophies. The nation has moved forward in fits and starts, but it has moved forward.

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