Daily Resource Highlight - 06/21/2022

Posted by 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:

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).