Daily Resource Highlight - 06/21/2022
Posted by Bridge Alliance Education Fund on June 21, 2022 at 11:53 AM
Below are the highlights and featured resources of this past week’s Daily* Resource.
June 14, 2022 - Let’s Talk Policy: Abortion, Drug Prices, Public School Funding, and More
Before we get into the heart of this newsletter, it thrills me to tell you that Sunday’s Civvys ceremony went beautifully. You can now watch the full ceremony here, including the inspiring stories of the winners. Thank you again to Made By Us and Civic Season for hosting us.
Now for policy… if you know the Bridge Alliance, you know most of our focus is on defending and improving the systems of our democratic republic so that it best reflects and empowers We The People. Day-to-day policy, though, is just as vital to America being the best version of itself.
Today’s newsletter is dedicated to those nuts and bolts issues that many of us think about each day. Some of these issues have made recent headlines, and others have fallen off the media’s radar a bit, but all of them are important to think about as we figure out what it means to live in 21st century America:
- Healthcare: Back in April, The Factual sat down with Mark Cuban to discuss healthcare broadly, and drug prices specifically (Side note: I personally recommend checking out CostPlusDrugs, which is Cuban’s new business)
- Firearms: Recent events have put gun control and the 2nd Amendment front-and-center in our minds. Bill Track 50 recently published an article on how different states are changing / considering changing their firearm carry laws.
- Public Schools: Ballotpedia conducted a 50-state survey of how states fund their public schools. Two-thirds of states use a “student-based” model, but there are 3 other models being used as well. Interestingly, there’s no clear correlation between partisan leaning and the model being used.
- Abortion: April Lawson of Braver Angels used a touching moment from a Braver Angels event as a model for how to discuss the topic.
- Gas Prices: One of R Street’s newest explainers denounces the use of high-ethanol gasoline to lower prices. The paper claims the long-term consequences far outweigh the short-term benefits.
You may have noticed that I more-or-less alternated between highly contentious issues and topics that are important, but less immediately controversial. This was intentional, because we can’t govern, as a country, by the news cycle. All of these policy areas deserve our attention and informed discussion, even when they aren’t trending in the news or on social media.
June 16, 2022 - What Do You Mean By Competitive Elections?
The 2022 Midterm Elections are coming in November, and in some ways the results are already known. According to FairVote’s Monopoly Politics, which claims 99% accuracy in its high-confidence projections, only around 40 seats will be toss-ups (9%), and 348 seats (80%) will be safe for one party or the other. The number of toss-ups could rise, but not by much (the model’s maximum is 48 (11%) in a highly Democratic environment, and 52 (12%) in a highly Republican environment).
In other words, there will be few competitive House elections this November. A big part of the reason for this, of course, is that Republicans and Democrats have gotten very sophisticated with gerrymandering. There has been pushback on partisan gerrymandering with “redistricting commissions,” but as this R Street paper explains, these commissions are only effective if they are designed to be effective.
But this does not mean that all of our elections are non-competitive. Indeed, as our CEO Debilyn notes, your vote can have an impact during primary season (the Fulcrum). And there can be a lot of competition during the primaries. In fact, that may be its own problem due to plurality voting. This cycle, over two dozen candidates have won their primary with less than 50% of the vote, and the Republican nominee for Oregon Governor won her crowded primary field with just 22.6% of the vote.
In sum, our elections have flaws, but we need to think carefully about what we are trying to accomplish when we seek to “fix” them. R Street’s newest explainer, “A Republic, If You Can Keep It,” does this well. It focuses on three Principles (ease of voting, trustworthiness, and broadly appealing winners), and suggests a framework of reforms to meet those Principles.
Slogans like “we want competitive elections!” are easy to digest, but they often ignore nuances. And those nuances can be the difference between a change that empowers Americans (independent redistricting), and a change that trades one problem (lack of competition) for another (unpopular winners).
- AllSides (blog) June 13th: Ohio Reduces Training Time Required for Teachers to Carry Guns From 700 Hours to 24
- AllSides (blog) June 6th: When We Stop Paying Attention to the Rest of the World
- AllSides (blog) June 10th: “Gender-Affirming Care” or “Medical Procedures”? Both Sides of Transgender Terminology
- American Democracy Project (form) due June 30th: Constructive Dialogue: Fostering Trust, Curiosity, and Deeper Learning In the Classroom
- American Promise (report) June 7th: “Uncommon Wealth: Outside Spending and Influence in the 2022 Pennsylvania Senate Election”
- American Public Square (report) June 1st: APS Annual Report 2021
- American Values Coalition (blog) June 9th: Diversity is a Strength
- American Values Coalition (blog) June 16th: Why the Jan 6 Commission Matters
- Ballotpedia (blog) June 7th: Public school funding formulas in the states
- Braver Angels (form) June 12th: Share Your Experiences!
- Braver Angels (blog) June 7th: ‘The atmosphere is electrifying’: How Braver Angels debates are lighting up college campuses
- Civic Genius (blog) June 13th: Federal Communications Commission
- Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (release) June 16th: Fix the Debt Awards 2022 Fiscal Heroes
- Divided We Fall (blog) June 8th: Secrecy or Transparency in Congress?
- IndependentVoting.org (video) May 31st: Indies Reach Out Video
- Junior State of America (blog) June 12th: Op-Ed: Cancel Culture
- Represent Women (blog) June 8th: The Many Pathways to Fixing our Democracy
- Represent Women (guide) June 15th: RepresentWomen Solutions Summit Resource Guide
- R Street Institute (report) June 6th: Independent Redistricting Commissions
- R Street Institute (blog) June 8th: Broadband Buildout Stymied by Bureaucracy
- R Street Institute (explainer) June 15th: A Republic, If You Can Keep It: The Pressing Need for Electoral Reform
- Show Me Integrity (blog) June 10th: Jim McKelvey and a conversation on election reform
- The Factual (blog) June 10th: How Reliable Is Newsweek?
- The Flip Side (newsletter) June 15th: Bipartisan Gun Deal