Presented by The Bridge Alliance Education Fund.

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What Makes a Mature Democracy?

Posted by Ken White on July 06, 2018

It’s been 242 years since the United States declared independence. Yet, we’re still a young nation. Surveying the state of American political culture, it’s not difficult to conclude that, as a country and a culture, we’re still in our adolescence.

This week, we celebrated our Declaration of *Independence*. What word better defines an adolescent’s vocabulary than “independence”? What document expresses more beautifully and succinctly the twinned pulls of freedom and (hopefully) responsibility that adolescent experiences?

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Ballot Fails

Posted by Mikala Cohen on June 30, 2018

By Mikala Cohen, BallotReady. Reposted from

Every year, ballots across the United States include questions on everything from whether to install a public swimming pool to whether citizens should pay for their plastic bags. But what happens if the ballot question is worded incorrectly? Or if the language translation is just a little bit off?

Every year, in communities and districts across the country, voters are victims of ballot fails. Here are some of our favorites.


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Congress must accommodate America’s complex immigration aspirations

Posted by Cameron Smith on June 22, 2018

By Cameron Smith, R Street Institute. Reposted from and

As a conservative, I understand Americans who are tired of our immigration laws being violated with impunity. As a parent, I also share the visceral reaction to a child being torn from the arms of her parent. We need levelheaded immigration solutions from Congress – far more than we need the moral outrage and political blame-games we’ve seen from our elected officials so far.

President Barack Obama might not have found the answer on immigration policy, but he wasn’t a pushover, either. From 2008 to 2016, the United States formally removed almost 3.5 million deportable or inadmissible aliens. Other presidents may have seen more inadmissible immigrants leave on their watch, but none used the legal process to remove more aliens than Obama.

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The Flag’s History: A Model of Collaboration and Process

Posted by Caroline Klibanoff on June 14, 2018

By Caroline Klibanoff, Bridge Alliance and Big Tent Nation

Today is Flag Day, a holiday which celebrates the day we adopted the stars and stripes as our national flag. On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress resolved to represent the nascent union with a flag of thirteen stripes and thirteen stars, sewn by Betsy Ross.

While our flag has changed in design over the years – we’ve waved 27 different versions since that first resolution – as a country, we have held tight to the story that Ross, a Colonial-era flagmaker, singlehandedly crafted the Old Glory in all its, well, glory.

But the truth is a little more complicated – and a little more reflective of the iterative process and “many-hands” approach that is core to American life.

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Posted by Matt Leighninger on June 08, 2018

By Matt Leighninger, Public Agenda. Reposted from

How can public engagement evolve in order to meet the challenges and conditions of 2017? In my first post of this multi-blog series, I shared a list of promising directions for innovation in the field. Now, in Part 2 of the series, we'll explore in more detail the first item on that list: making engagement more social and versatile, so that it is more common, convenient and fun.

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Civility,Trust & Legislative Leadership

Posted by Stephen Lakis on June 02, 2018

By Stephen Lakis, SLLF. Reposted from

Just last year SLLF signed up with Bridge Alliance, a new organization whose stated goal is to restore civility to our national discourse. We believe the Bridge Alliance is onto something, not just because they speak truth when they point out how damaging the current lack of civility is to the health of our democracy, but more because they are trying to do something about it. We’ve put our oar in the water, joined the BA family, and together with other like-minded organizations, we’re working to restore a measure of civility to the legislative discourse. The job is not easy.

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Get to Know a Legislator: Rep. Abdullah Hammoud

Posted by Jeremy Garson on May 31, 2018

By Jeremy Garson, Bridge Alliance. Reposted from

In this month’s Legislator of the Month feature, MAP sits down with Michigan Future Caucus Co-Chair Representative Abdullah Hammoud (D-District 15). Rep. Hammoud shares what motivated him to run for office, the power of bridge building, and why he decided to join the State Future Caucus Network.

Rep. Hammoud was motivated to run for office after his brother Ali passed away. “Ali was the type of individual that made you feel as if the stars were within arm’s reach, all you had to do was be bold enough to grab them. He was an individual that believed in pursuing your passions, staying true to your identity, and, above all, treating everyone as if they were family.”

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Posted by Matt Leighninger on May 18, 2018

By Matt Leighninger, Public Agenda. Reposted from

On all kinds of issues, people want more choices, more information and more of a say. Whether the topic is how schools should work, what should be in the local budget or what Congress should do about health care, citizens want their voices to be heard. “We are in the midst of a profound global Great Push Back against concentrated, monopolized, hoarded power,” writes Eric Liu.

When they’re given productive, well-structured ways to participate, citizens have a lot to contribute: they can not only provide reasonable input and interesting ideas to public officials and staff, they can also devote their own time, energy and skills to solving public problems.

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The Hidden Agreement Within America's Political Chasm

Posted by Erik Fogg on May 11, 2018

By Erik Fogg, Reconsider Media. Reposted from

Here at ReConsider we like to harp on the idea that behind the mass of negativity and hyperpartisanship that dominates American politics, there are mostly shared values. Nat talks a bit about the disparity in this video.

In Wedged we demonstrated this agreement in case studies. We showed that on even divisive issues such as guns, abortion, and taxes, most people will agree on core values most of the time. We posited that this agreement on values probably extended to other issues.

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Don’t Settle for “Fake Belonging” — In Society or Politics

Posted by Debilyn Molineaux on May 04, 2018

By Debilyn Molineaux, Bridge Alliance. Reposted from

We human beings have an intense — an inherent — need to belong to a group. In our “cave days,” it was important for the survival of our species to be connected and work together.

As we’ve evolved, physically, emotionally and societally, belonging has been equally important to our survival. Our community provides acceptance, support, and values.

It’s the “something bigger than ourselves” that provides meaning to our lives.

Belonging and connection means having a sense of purpose, which allows for happiness. We are meant to be in groups. No one is an island. No. One. We are wired for community.

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