Daily Resource Highlight - 05/09/2022

Posted by on May 09, 2022 at 12:35 PM

Below are the highlights and featured resources of this past week’s Daily* Resource.

May 3, 2022 - Taking An All-Of-The-Above Approach to the Economy

Our economy is not working for millions of Americans. Regardless of the cause, Americans are hurting financially. And this pain is being inflamed by inflation, which is stretching tight household budgets even thinner (it’s also making America even more polarized as everybody tries to figure out who to blame).

We don’t believe there’s any “silver bullet” that will fix the economy, but there are a number of  Bridge Alliance member organizations whose ideas could help move us in the right direction. For instance, Participatory Budgeting Project wants to take available funding and make local budgeting processes more democratic, and their 2021 Impact Report demonstrates their successes in doing so. This “Think Local” approach could also be helped by Congress’ reintroduction of earmarks (Divided We Fall), which can be used by Representatives and local leaders “to identify [and address] critical community needs.

Other organizations are more focused on easing unintentional burdens caused by government intervention. In the McCourtney Institute’s Democracy Works podcast, Josh Mitchell discusses the “catastrophic” impact the government’s student loans program has had on families and America’s future, and how the new loan forgiveness program is difficult for borrowers to navigate.

The Hispanic Leadership Fund (HLF) is also alarmed by the costs of a college education, and believes the SEC’s new rules targeting hedge funds and other investment groups will worsen the problem. As HLF puts it, “University endowments, nonprofits, and pension plans entrust trillions of dollars to private funds.” By targeting these private funds, HLF says the SEC is unintentionally hurting everyday Americans, including “America’s proud Hispanic communities” and “aspiring first-generation college students.”

Will these solutions fix the economy? No, probably not. But could they be a significant step toward helping Americans feel more financially secure? Absolutely, and that alone makes them worthy of serious consideration.

May 5, 2020 - Plurality is the Default in America – It Isn’t the Only Option

Interactivity Foundation is hosting a Summer Collaborative Coaching program, and applications are due May 9th (just 4 days from now!), so make sure to fill out the form ASAP. This program got me thinking – if Americans had a collaborative discussion about how we vote and how those votes are counted, what would we decide is the best approach?

Plurality Voting is the most common approach in America (i.e. the most votes wins, period), but it’s far from the only option (discussing six different single-winner methods). And if you are already interested in electoral reform, you’ve most likely heard of Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). According to a report by Voice of the People, a majority of Americans find arguments in favor of RCV convincing, though Republicans were split (49% in favor, 50% opposed) on the reform itself.

RCV is also popular among reformers in general. IVN has touted it as a tool against corruption, and RepresentUs advocates for it as part of the American Anti-Corruption Act. Additionally, FairVote argues that RCV can help close the racial turnout gap

But as mentioned, RCV isn’t the only alternative to Plurality Voting. For instance, the Center for Election Science favors Approval Voting as a simple and user-friendly voting method. CES also sees AV as a solution to vote splitting, and touts its use in electing St. Louis’ first black woman to office (Mayor Tishaura Jones). 

Perhaps, though, you still believe Plurality Voting is the best. If so, that’s fine! Or maybe you think RCV or AV are part of the solution, but more is needed. Like maybe primary reform or multi-winner districts (which FairVote promotes with RCV). That works, too!

The point is that there are options, and it’s important to know what those options are, including those beyond RCV and AV. So, how do you think America should choose its leaders? If the reform movement continues to gain momentum, the choice may soon be yours.