On October 5, 2021, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate. Business for America and its member companies are proud to support this legislation to ensure that voting rights are protected for all eligible Americans. In 1970, 1975, 1982, and 2006 the Voting Rights Act was reauthorized with overwhelming bipartisan support.
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Nearly all Americans agree that the proliferation of misinformation online is a problem, but few believe they have played a part in spreading it, recent polling found.
More than eight in 10 Americans say misinformation is a major problem and 13 percent believe it's a minor problem, according to a survey released Friday by the Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts at the University of Chicago and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Misinformation is also seen as a problem regardless of political affiliation, the survey found, with large majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents in agreement that it's an issue of concern.
Two-fifths of Americans are extremely or very concerned they have been exposed to misinformation, the poll found, and most people blame the spread of misinformation on social media platforms and their users, as well as U.S. politicians.
Blaming social media for spreading misinformation was popular across party lines, with 79 percent of Republicans and 73 percent of Democrats ascribing the issue to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other online platforms. That kind of consensus could lead to significant crackdowns on social media and tech companies. Facebook has come under fire recently for its role in spreading misinformation after a whistleblower testified in a congressional hearing that the site's algorithm amplifies misleading and harmful content.
Most people were quick to blame others for this issue, with only one-fifth of those surveyed willing to take any responsibility. People were slightly more likely to say their friends (25 percent) or family (27 percent) have spread misinformation, even unintentionally.
To address the issue of misinformation, most Americans believed both institutions and individuals should play a role. Seven in 10 people said politicians should take steps to address the problem, and two-thirds said social media companies should do the same. Just over six in 10 people believe social media users and the U.S. government should do something to mitigate misinformation.
The nationwide survey gathered opinions from 1,071 adults online and via phone Sept. 9-13. The margin of error was 3.9 percentage points.
Garson is legal counsel and chief of staff for the Bridge Alliance, which houses The Fulcrum.
The Bridge Alliance's mission is to promote healthy self-governance in America, which means strengthening our democratic republic and empowering Americans to take control of their own future. The best — and perhaps only — way to do this is by co-creating the future with the American people. More specifically, we believe that the movement's leadership must reflect the experiences, values and beliefs of everyday Americans.
That is why, in 2019, the Bridge Alliance announced that diversity would be an integral part of our operating system. And in 2020 we released the first Diversity Report, which showed that the Bridge Alliance community's leadership was whiter, older, and more progressive than the nation as a whole. This year, our goal was to measure the progress we have made in giving all Americans a seat at the table, and to identify where there is room for improvement.
The 2021 Diversity Report does exactly that. This report shows that the field has made progress to better mirror the general population of the United States. While our member organizations still tend to be more mature, more white, and more progressive than the country as a whole, the numbers are trending in the right direction for ideology and age. On the other hand, it is clear that we must do a better job of recruiting and welcoming racially and ethnically diverse Americans.
This year's results also show that we have room for improvement in how we define and measure diversity. For instance, we removed geographic hometown diversity from this year's report for several reasons (you can read more about that decision in the report itself), and in its place we added gender/sex diversity. We recognize, however, that geographic diversity is still very important. We also recognize that there are other important areas of diversity, such as education. We will continue to evaluate what it means to be "diverse" and how we can encourage the movement to become more diverse and inclusive.
To be clear, we do not expect every Bridge Alliance member to be as diverse as America. The work of our members differs considerably, all with different constituencies and therefore, natural differentiations in their levels of diversity. Instead, we seek to raise awareness of the importance of diversity and of the steps that can be taken related to all diversity work with the hope of having the field be more reflective of the demographics of the country.
Simply stated, this report is a reminder that we are a diverse nation and to thrive as Americans we must welcome and embrace diverse perspectives and experiences. Our hope is to firmly plant this mentality within the healthy self-governance movement with the expectation that if we are deliberate and persistent in our pursuit of diversity, we will form a representative constituency who will, in turn, demand healthy and functional governance that reflects the rich diversity of Americans.
We hope you will join us in this journey.
Corporations don't vote in elections, but they have a big impact on our democracy and society, for better or worse. Four business leaders from American Promise's National Business Network discuss how free enterprise and the open exchange of ideas are too often replaced by "pay-to-play" and "crony capitalism", where firms and special interests compete for favors based on political spending. In this video discussion, The Role of Business in the Democracy Reform Movement, they also discuss the controversial question of the proper role, if any, of American corporations in politics, and how business leaders can best serve their country and their business in this challenging time.
Political groups with names like Keep Kentucky Great and Texas Forever sound innocuous and homegrown, but are largely — and secretly — financed by prominent D.C.-based funding organizations, according to a campaign finance watchdog organization.
The nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center on Thursday filed a 50-page complaint with the Federal Election Commission against 18 of these seemingly local super PACs for allegedly violating federal law by not disclosing their affiliations, and therefore "denying voters the right to know who is spending big money to influence their vote."
Between 2017 and 2020, the 18 super PACs collectively spent more than $200 million to influence voters in competitive federal elections. And nearly all their funding came from five national groups, including the Republican Senate Leadership Fund and the Democratic Senate Majority PAC, the Campaign Legal Center found.
Super PACs can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to influence federal elections, but unlike traditional political action committees they cannot give directly to political candidates. Instead, they can use their enormous funds on advertising overtly advocating for or against candidates. Super PACs are also mandated by federal law to disclose their donors and affiliations.
The fact that the 18 super PACs in question received most of their funding from established political groups in Washington "clearly demonstrates" an affiliation that qualifies for disclosure, the Campaign Legal Center argues.
For example, the Senate Leadership Fund provided all or nearly all the funding to Peachtree PAC (Georgia), Plains PAC (Iowa and Kansas), Keep Kentucky Great, The Maine Way PAC, Faith and Power PAC (North Carolina), American Crossroads (national), DefendArizona and Mountain Families PAC (West Virginia) in the 2018 or 2020 elections. Similarly, the Senate Majority PAC provided all or the significant majority of the funding for Sunflower State PAC (Kansas), Carolina Blue (North Carolina), Texas Forever, Highway 31 (Alabama) and Red and Gold (Arizona) during those same elections.
In both instances, the super PACs spent millions on congressional elections in key states without disclosing their affiliations to the major fundraising arms of Republican and Democratic leadership in Congress.
A number of the political groups named in the complaint are also considered "pop-up" super PACs because they were created in the final weeks of an election to spend big on one or a handful of congressional races. These super PACs often "strategically timed their spending such that the public did not learn the true source of the mystery group's communications until after the election," the complaint says.
"Senior leaders of both parties have been steering money from wealthy special interests to front groups specifically designed to trick voters," said Adav Noti, the nonprofit's senior director of trial litigation and chief of staff. "Voters have a right to know when big money is flowing into their elections from D.C.-based groups hiding their agendas and funding behind fake names."
The Campaign Legal Center hopes their complaint into the super PACs' misconduct prompts "swift investigation and a firm crackdown by the FEC."
The Fulcrum has reached out to all 18 super PACs named in the complaint. Highway 31 offered no comment and others have yet to respond. The Fulcrum will update this article as necessary.
Nevins is co-publisher of The Fulcrum and co-founder and board chairman of the Bridge Alliance Education Fund.
On July 13, CNBC announced its annual "America's Top States for Business" awards given annually since 2007.
The competition among states to entice businesses is more competitive than ever as more and more states offer tax incentives and other perks to encourage corporate relocation.
A new category, "Life, Health and Inclusion," replaced "Quality of Life" as a metric this year, to respond to corporate America's desire for inclusiveness. This is a significant recognition that when deciding on new business locations, consideration of diversity and equity in a state is an important factor in determining which state is most attractive.
Not surprisingly, this new metric has inserted politics into a non-political award.
CNBC intentionally wants the Top States for Business award to be devoid of political connotations, but one can't help but wonder, given the polarized society we live in, whether including diversity and equity in the weighting adjustments for 2021 will not politicize this award. CNBC clearly states that the award uses empirical data based on changes in American society and culture that impact corporations' perceptions of what is important. But the attention paid to a politicized topic is sure to be seen by some as political intrusion or catering to the populist whim of our time.
One example is the increased weighting of infrastructure. CNBC has determined infrastructure is more important than ever in determining a state's competitiveness to attract corporations, yet it is one of the most hotly debated legislative matters before Congress today.
The new "Life, Health and Inclusion" category is getting the most reaction. As this year's winner, Virginia earned points for its voting rights and anti-discrimination laws, two areas that have seen significant change since Democrats took complete control of state government in 2019.
And of course, while the award is supposed to be devoid of politics, Gov. Ralph Northam was quick to take credit for Virginia's No. 1 ranking.
"When you do the right thing for people it's not only right for them but it's good for business, and we've proven it," Northam told CNBC on Tuesday. "Yes, Virginia went through some tough times and Virginians stuck with me. I committed to dealing with equity, to addressing numerous inequities we have in Virginia," Northam said.
Northam went on to say, "Virginia is promoting making it easier to vote while other states are not." Given that voting rights is one of the most contentious political issues today, the insertion of politics into a non-political award is not surprising given the fact that two of Virginia's top competitors for business are Texas and Georgia, which have been accused by many of increasing voter restrictions.
Northam has vowed to use the remainder of his term to work toward equity in the state.
"There are a number of inequities in our society, to include access to health care, access to education, access to the business environment, access to the voting booth," Northam told CNBC in 2019. "So, we are really focusing on those inequities."
Additionally, this year Virginia has enacted legislation requiring all agencies to develop plans for diversity, equity and inclusion in their ranks — again creating a differentiator when up against states like Texas and Georgia.
While states across America are reacting in different ways to issues of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), it is clear that 2020 and 2021 have sparked a wave of DEI initiatives throughout corporate America at an unprecedented rate in reaction to their heightened concern about systemic racial injustice. Whether this shift in emphasis will ultimately impact the political process at the state and federal level remains to be seen. In April, corporate America inserted itself in the voting rights debate as Amazon, BlackRock, Good and hundreds of other companies and executives signed on to a statement opposing "any discriminatory legislation" that would make it more difficult for people to vote. Whether this is a one-time statement or a long-term dedication to voting rights issues remains to be seen.
CNBC makes available the categories and weightings for each metric, offering some transparency of the process. A review will perhaps offer further insights into the inevitable intersection of economics and politics.
For years, the Harvard Business School Competitiveness Report has found that political dysfunction is the #1 barrier to economic competitiveness. Political polarization is a root cause of that dysfunction. But how do we fix it?
Business for America, a coalition of businesses promoting a stronger democracy, and the Niskanen Center collaborated to create a four-part series, Divided We Fall.
The fourth and final part explores public policy approaches to addressing the polarization at the root of America's political dysfunction, including anti-gerrymandering, nonpartisan primaries, and ranked-choice voting. The discussion also explores how introducing more choice and competition into politics helps increase voter participation, increase diversity among winning candidates, reduces toxicity during elections, and increases bipartisan collaboration while in office.
Business engagement in politics is nothing new, but following the January 6 riot, scrutiny has grown on how corporate political spending may be incentivizing bad behavior among politicians. How can businesses be sure their government affairs and corporate PACs aren't wreaking havoc on our democracy?
Business for America, a coalition of businesses promoting a stronger democracy, and the Niskanen Center collaborated to create a four-part series, Divided We Fall. The third part discusses a model for "corporate political responsibility" and why business has "an enlightened self-interest" in supporting political moderation, trans-partisanship, and an actionable "middle way."