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We Need To Talk: It’s Time to Create and Fund Our Future

Posted by Debilyn Molineaux on March 16, 2018 at 6:09 PM

By Debilyn Molineaux, Bridge Alliance. Reposted from

Collectively, there are thousands of organizations and funders already working to improve our country. So why does our country appear to be a mess?

The weakest part of our country is our willingness to live in a narrative/news stream that confirms our own bias and demonizes others. We could make our collective work exponentially more effective by fostering strong relationships among people of different viewpoints.

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Powerful Coalition Launches Campaign to Challenge Two-Party Politics

Posted by Shawn M. Griffiths on March 09, 2018 at 6:42 PM

By Shawn M. Griffiths, IVN. Reposted from

Now is a pivotal moment for the millions of Americans who recognize that there is something terribly wrong with our government. That is why a coalition of over 80 civic action groups, called the Bridge Alliance, is kicking off its educational campaign #HealthyGov.

It’s no secret that Americans want change. A plurality of Americansno longer wish to identify with the establishment parties in the US. Even more Americans think a third party is needed. Congressional approval barely escapes the single digits, and many Americans think government dysfunction is the nation’s biggest problem.

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Bottom-Up Leadership: Rank-and-File Lead the Way in Kansas and Illinois

Posted by Sllf on March 04, 2018 at 2:34 PM

Posted by Thom Little, Ph.D., SLLF. Reposted from

Everybody talks about top-down leadership. Those at the top of the pyramid lead those further down. Indeed, with its focus on presiding officers, pro tempores and floor leaders, the State Legislative Leaders Foundation has spent more than forty-five years focusing on top-down leadership. But today, I want to flip that on its head and talk about leadership that comes from within the rank-and-file membership.

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A Tale of Two Presidents

Posted by Erik Fogg on February 23, 2018 at 4:01 PM

Posted by Erik Fogg, ReConsider Media. Reposted from

Let me tell you about a president, and you guess who he is.

  • He's a relative political newcomer with lots of money that swept aside the conventional right and left by mobilizing the frustration and anger of a new coalition of citizens
  • He's trying to revitalize what he and his followers believe is a stagnant nation
  • He cut taxes and killed the estate tax
  • He's going after unions, who he thinks are dragging down the economy
  • He's slashing lots of regulation, but trying to protect domestic industries from foreign competition--especially from China
  • He's vowed to strike Syria if his administration learns it used chemical weapons (again) on its civilians
  • He is curtailing press 'privileges' and closing the press room near his office
  • His cabinet is weighed down by increasingly-frequent sexual assault allegations
  • He's shifting the country to cozy up with Putin and Russia
  • He's really into military parades, despite his peer countries not sharing in such affections
  • He's even considering introducing compulsory national service, in a move that is being called confusing and half-baked
  • And amid all this, his approval ratings are startlingly worryingly underwater

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How ranked choice voting leads to fair representation in Oscar nominations

Posted by Rob Richie on February 16, 2018 at 4:32 PM

By Rob Richie, FairVote. Reposted from

Ranked choice voting is notable for how often it’s used to elect political leaders. The fair representation form of it -- as proposed nationally for congressional elections in the Fair Representation Act (HR 3057) -- is used for at least one election in which every voter can vote in Australia, Cambridge, Mass., Ireland, Malta, Minneapolis, Minn., New Zealand, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. And just this month, it’s been used to nominate potential Oscar winners nearly every major category of the Academy Awards, as announced yesterday.

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Lessons from George Washington: It's Time We Listened!

Posted by Brian Clancy on February 09, 2018 at 2:26 PM

By Brian Clancy, Big Tent Nation. Reposted from

We all want America to flourish and prosper, but disagreements on “how” keep tripping us up. How is much more than picking between policy prescriptions – at its core it involves how we treat each other, and particularly those we disagree with.

The person most essential to realizing America in the first place thought about this issue a lot. It’s time to revisit his legacy.

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4 Lessons That 2017 Taught us About Change

Posted by Katie Hyten on February 02, 2018 at 12:31 PM

By Katie Hyten, Essential Partners. Reposted from

When we entered into 2017, our country reeled from the election less than two months earlier. People seemed to retreat to their corners and prepare for battle, terrified of or thrilled for what the next year would bring. As this year progressed, our team often felt like we had front row tickets to this tension: when to engage, and when to fight? As we spoke with people working to shift the dynamics of polarization in their community, we often saw this tension firsthand: yes, we need to have better conversations. But also, their views are repugnant and we must stop them. How can these two poles come together to create the communities we want to work and live in?

1. Change is hard. (And it requires more than one tool.)

At Essential Partners, we help people in their communities come together and have the conversations they need to have, but seem impossible. Whether it’s helping a college community rethink how they help students feel included on campus, or helping journalists and judges in Finland think intentionally about how they speak about refugees; having those conversations is essential.

But just this past year, we have seen important other tools move toward change: marches, policy change, persuasive writing, and activism. That said, every group working towards change requires communication as a tool to hear voices within the group and communicate goals within and outside that group.

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Rebuilding Trust Through Dialogue

Posted by Annie Pottorff on January 25, 2018 at 12:06 PM

By Annie Pottorff, Communications Coordinator, Jefferson Center. Reposted from Jefferson Center.

In the past year, common narratives about democracy have hinged on one main focal point: a severe absence of trust. We’ve heard that American trust in government fell to historic lows and that trust in the news media eroded as a result of  social media echo-chambers and partisan news outlets. Knowing this, it’s easy to feel discouraged. But, what’s actually going on in communities across the nation? Has this distrust led citizens to give up on their local governments and institutions?

Last year, we saw the opposite–sure, people were frustrated. But they were also energized to meet with their neighbors, learn more about issues that affect their communities, and do something. In a year where divisiveness and partisanship were identified as critical challenges to the health of our democracy, it was incredible to see citizens working together to create change.

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Bridge Alliance in 2018

Posted by Debilyn Molineaux on January 19, 2018 at 11:51 AM

Bridge Alliance in 2018


We are proud of our accomplishments -- but we are not resting on our laurels!  

In just three years, the Bridge Alliance has grown to an alliance of 83 organizations with new members invited quarterly. We are barely past start-up in creating a vibrant and powerful collaborative community of organizations, each working to strengthen democracy. With the right combination of strategy, funding, and collaboration this community can significantly amplify the power of what each organization is doing individually.


We have an exciting year planned for 2018. Some highlights:

  • Backbone Services - includes a journalist outreach program, peer to peer opportunities, and continuing the Weekly Update on latest member happenings and events.
  • Media Campaign - a unified media delivery system plan that will run for at least three months, reaching approximately 5 million additional people and collecting an estimated 15,000 email addresses.
  • Leadership Council - Bridge Alliance member leaders will share ownership in enacting the 2018 plan and amplify our message.
  • Fundraising Campaign - Our goal is to raise $2,500,000 of which 80-85% goes to fund round two of BA Action Grants.
  • New American Tapestry Portfolio for Bridge Action Grants - This is the basis for our fundraising campaign and is a collection of impact projects that represent the variety of areas we work in and which must be worked on simultaneously.  

Want more information?  Keep reading!

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Country Before Party - My Entry into the Democratic Reform Movement

Posted by Jeremy Garson on January 18, 2018 at 11:11 AM

By Jeremy Garson, Legal Counsel & Associate Project Director, Bridge Alliance

My name is Jeremy Garson and I am a recovering partisan. For years I had a reflexive need to defend anything and everything “my party” (the Democratic Party) said and did. I would forgo critical thinking when I saw a “D” or “R” attached to news and assume that “my side” was right and “the other side” was wrong. Even worse, my intellectual surrender affected my personal interactions; I was an amateur spin doctor even with my closest friends. I was completed addicted to the “us vs. them” construct that plagues modern day politics.

My recent conversion to nonpartisanship wasn’t born out of thin air. I’ve always had a small voice in my head pushing me to be more independent-minded. This independent voice is best demonstrated in my relationships. Throughout the years, I’ve had a strong tendency to befriend people with different political viewpoints. In fact, this progressive will have a libertarian standing by his side as he gets married this Fall.

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