The Newsletter

Are Closed Primaries Unconstitutional?

Posted by Bridge Alliance Education Fund on July 25, 2019

Featured Blog Post: Playtesting: A New Cast Your Vote is On The Way

If you haven’t already, check out The Fulcrum!

Several members of the Bridge Alliance are fighting for open primaries, including IndependentVoting.org and, of course, Open Primaries. These efforts include pressuring politicians to introduce and pass legislation and trying to get ballot initiatives up for popular vote -- i.e. democratic approaches. While these campaigns have certainly produced results, reformers face a constant up-hill battle against status quo-minded state parties.

What if closed primaries are unconstitutional, though? What if the U.S. Constitution protects independent-minded Americans from having to register with a particular party in order to participate in the primary process? According to three legal scholars (including Jeremy Gruber of Open Primaries), that’s precisely the situation. You can hear them make their case on a conference call with IndependentVoting.org on July 29th @ 8:30 PM EDT. Email Cathy Stewart at cathy.stewart5@gmail.com for more information.

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These Groups Are Achieving Success by Bringing People Together

Posted by Bridge Alliance Education Fund on July 17, 2019

Featured Blog Post: How a Hijab-Wearing Muslim and a MAGA Hat-Wearing Conservative Formed a Friendship

If you haven’t already, check out The Fulcrum!

We are living in a time of intense division and isolation. A study released last year found that nearly half of American adults (43%) reported feeling lonely. As humans, we are naturally social creatures and we want to connect with other humans. And when we do connect, the results can be incredible.

A number of Bridge Alliance members have done great work connecting and uniting people with a common purpose. In this week’s Update, we focus on four such members whose efforts look very different, but who are each bridging divides within our country:

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Millennials Are Making Their Mark in Congress and the States

Posted by Bridge Alliance Education Fund on July 11, 2019

Featured Blog Post: A Place to Go and a Place to Stand: Can Democracy Save Itself?

If you haven’t already, check out The Fulcrum!

Millennials (defined as people born between 1981 and 1996)  still aren’t quite old enough to have a significant, elected presence on the Hill. Just one Senator -- Josh Hawley -- is less than 40 years old, and only 26 of 435 House Representatives were born after 1980 (20 of those were elected during the 2018 midterms, including 3 of the 4 new Congressional Future Caucus leaders).

Nevertheless, millennials are still finding ways to make their mark in Congress. For instance, some are becoming Congressional Innovation Fellows  with TechCongress and helping to bring the legislative branch into the 21st century. These men and women are bringing their expertise to bear on legislation and helping to bridge the gap between Silicon Valley and D.C. lawmakers. Impressively, the 2019 Fellows averaged over seven offers per fellow.

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Exemplars of Public Service Receive Democracy Awards

Posted by Bridge Alliance Education Fund on July 03, 2019

Featured Blog Post: 7 Ways for Teens to Get Involved in Politics

This Week’s Survey: How Old Are You?

The Bridge Alliance is proud to be a Founding Partner of the Congressional Management Foundation's Democracy Awards! During a time of fierce polarization and mistrust in government, the Democracy Awards recognize exceptional work in the areas of constituent services, workplace environment, transparency and accountability, and lifetime achievement. As you’ll see from the links, great work is still being accomplished on the Hill by both Democrats and Republicans, even in the most partisan times.

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I’m Sensing a Pattern Here… (Updates in Civic Engagement)

Posted by Bridge Alliance Education Fund on June 26, 2019

Featured Blog Post: Why you don't vote.

Before we talk patterns or surveys, I wanted to let you know that the Bridge Alliance, Big Tent Nation, and NCoC are accepting nominations for the Third Annual Civvys Awards until July 12th. If you know an individual, organization, or project that is making a positive impact through collaboration, nominate them here. The categories are National, Local, and Youth.

As for last week’s survey...we asked you what “Civic Engagement” means to you, and many of you responded (results at the bottom -- spoiler: the #1 response might surprise you!). 

Our question this week: how many of your friends are on the “other side” ideologically?

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Presidential “Spoiler” Candidates Might Soon Be a Thing of the Past

Posted by Bridge Alliance Education Fund on June 21, 2019

Featured Blog Post: The Case for National Service

Before we get into “spoilers,” I wanted to let you know about two things. First, we want to learn more about you. That’s why we’re going to start asking you a question (or two) in each Weekly Update. This week we want to know what Civic Engagement means to you.

Second, our friends at Convergence are about to come out with their new report on helping former prisoners reassimilate into society -- called the Reentry Ready Project. Convergence brought together key stakeholders (including formerly incarcerated individuals) to brainstorm innovative strategies that will transform the current system. Those solutions will be presented on Wednesday, June 26th in Washington, D.C. -- with a keynote speech by Senator Tim Kaine -- and you can register for the event now (it’s free)!

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Imagine...Though It Might Not Be Easy If You Try (h/t John Lennon)

Posted by Bridge Alliance Education Fund on June 12, 2019

Featured Blog Post: Geo-Locating Protests And Tech's Role In Advancing Movements, Part II

Imagine a functional Congress that passes legislation on issues where there’s broad agreement and exercises oversight of the executive branch regardless of the President’s party. Not easy, right? (If it was easy, you have a much more flexible imagination than me).

As I type this, the latest poll found that just 14% of Americans approved of the way Congress is handling its job (Source: Economist/YouGov). And there’s good reason for that -- the budget is out of control; fundraising prowess (rather than legislative competence) is the key to gaining power; and most legislation is drafted by a small group of legislative leaders, White House officials, and lobbyists.

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The Fulcrum Has Launched!

Posted by Bridge Alliance Education Fund on June 07, 2019

Featured Blog Post: How to Avoid an ALL CAPS Screaming Match: 5 Tips for Productive Debate

 

Screen_Shot_2019-06-06_at_12.21.34_PM.pngThe Fulcrum, which launched on June 6, is a project of Issue One and supported by the Hewlett Foundation and the Bridge Alliance Education Fund.

The Fulcrum is staffed by award-winning journalists who report on the efforts to make our democratic republic less tribal, our elections more competitive, our politicians less beholden to moneyed interests, and our officials more attentive to real evidence in policy-making so Congress may become more effective, ethical, and civil.

The Fulcrum tracks efforts to help government be more responsive to the Americans who want these changes. The Fulcrum team decodes behaviors threatening (or protecting) the principles of the Constitution. Most importantly, they explain how you can get involved and why our democracy depends on it.

Bridge Alliance members have accumulated many noteworthy achievements in the effort to revitalize our social and political processes, but too few of your fellow Americans know there is a cohesive, organized movement in-progress (your movement!). This must change; we must demonstrate that there is an alternative for those who’ve grown weary of the party-first, second, and last paradigm.

“American democracy has become fundamentally challenged since I started covering Washington three decaes ago,” says Editor-in Chief David Hawkings.  “A career spent decoding policy and politics for the voters has made me most passionate about the need for more clear-eyed, unbiased reporting that boosts understanding of the dysfunction, explains why it’s threatening our collective future and illuminates efforts to help our government serve everyone.”

The Fulcrum news team is already getting attention for their work, including their digital newsletter (which you can sign up for at http://thefulcrum.us/). Please sign up (if you haven’t already) and invite your friends and family to sign up as well.

Sincerely,

Bridge Alliance Education Fund

Think we missed a big news story involving a Bridge Alliance member? Email us at info@bridgealliancefund.us and we'll make sure to get the story out on social media.

 

Bridge Alliance Members in the News:

Independent Voter Project; Open Primaries - IVN News - 6 Legislative Efforts to Protect YOUR Right to Vote

POGO - The Hill - Facial recognition surveillance in Congress's crosshairs

Better Angels - Catalyst - The Revolution You've Never Heard Of


Good Things Come in Three...at least for purposes of this update

Posted by Bridge Alliance Education Fund on May 31, 2019

Featured Blog Post: It Takes a Community - How City Leaders Demonstrate the Power of Citizen-Government Collaboration

We are proud to announce that -- once again -- the Bridge Alliance has welcomed three new members into the BA family. These members won’t come as a surprise to anybody who follows us on Twitter...which should be all of you! You can “Follow” us here. (do it now!) Without further ado, here are your newest Bridge Alliance organizations:

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Campaign and Election Groups Just. Keep. Winning. (Healthy Self Governance Update)

Posted by Bridge Alliance Education Fund on May 24, 2019

Featured Blog Post: Geo-Locating Protest: The Changing Role Of Tech In Social Movements Part I

There’s something very meta about the work of campaign and election groups. When they achieve victory, it necessarily impacts how others achieve victory. For instance, a victory by Open Primaries has the direct effect of making victory more likely for candidates who can appeal to independents.

If that seems a kind of confusing and odd way of thinking about this part of the Democracy Field …. well, welcome to my brain. With that said, let’s get out of my head and get to the good stuff -- the slew of wins that these groups have achieved over the last few months:

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