Opinion
Voting
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Time to reward every ballot's meaning in presidential elections

Fadem is a board member and national spokesman for National Popular Vote, which wants states to commit their electoral votes to the national winner of the presidential popular vote.

Every American voter, no matter where they live, should be politically relevant in every presidential election. Every state – red, blue or purple; small, medium or large – should play an equally important role in electing the president. And all major presidential candidates should feel compelled to conduct truly national campaigns, seeking out and selling their ideas to every voter in every nook and cranny of the United States.

Those are the simple, powerful ideas behind the National Popular Vote movement to guarantee the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

In brief, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact will go into effect when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes necessary to elect a president – 270 out of 538. In December, when electors meet to cast their ballots for president and vice president following a presidential election, the electoral votes of all the compacting states would be awarded to the candidate who receives the most popular votes across the nation.

The national popular vote bill significantly amplifies the voice of each individual voter in choosing the president of the United States.

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Big Picture
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Alex Wong/Getty Images News

Rep. John Lewis and his fellow Democrats unveiled HR 1 on Jan. 4, 2019. It has since been passed by the House on the party-line vote but isn't going anywhere in the Senate.

With the For the People Act, organizing is paying off

Weissman is president of Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization.

One good thing came from the Supreme Court's horrendous Citizens United decision a decade ago: an ever-expanding grassroots movement to rescue our democracy from the iron grip of Big Money.

The organizing is paying off.

In 2014, it led to a Senate vote for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. It almost certainly would have led to that horrid decision being overturned by the Supreme Court – if Merrick Garland had been confirmed as a justice.

Now, thanks to that movement, the Democratic leadership of the House of Representatives made the For the People Act – the top priority legislation considered by the House – a sweeping pro-democracy and anti-corruption package. The House passed the bill, known as HR 1, in March by a vote of 234-193. It is the most consequential pro-democracy legislation of the past 50 years.

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Congress
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Congress must fine more leaders among its staff, writes former Rep. Martin Frost, citing Rep. Marc Veasey (above). Veasey once worked in Frost's office and now represents that district.

Without bipartisanship, we can only fight

Frost is president of the Association of Former Members of Congress. A Democrat, he represented Texas in the House of Representatives from 1979 to 2005.

Last month, I was honored to testify before the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.

I represented the 24th District of Texas for 13 terms in the House, and for 26 years I was a member of the Rules Committee. I also served on the Budget and House Administration committees. I was Democratic Caucus chairman for four years and chaired the Caucus Rules Committee for 10.

Congress has been on my mind for much of my adult life.

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Civic Ed
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Race and Ethnicity - Living Room Conversations

Time to boost conversations that create connections

Blades is co-founder of Living Room Conversations, which organizes gatherings designed to increase understanding and reveal common ground.

Thought experiment: What if all the leaders in Washington decided tomorrow that climate change was the No. 1 issue to address? Evidence suggests this would not be as helpful as many people think. Consider health care, a No. 1 issue for decades. How does the U.S. health care system stack up? It is the most expensive in the world per capita and it isn't even in the top 10 in terms of outcomes. The fact is, importance isn't the determining variable for achieving success. We need to be able to work together.

Weaving the fabric of our democracy locally and nationally is a massive challenge. The people behind Living Room Conversations are meeting that challenge by offering an open-source project that can be used by mobile users at the beach as easily as in a living room or library.

Sometimes we worry that our name may confuse people. Living Room Conversations aren't limited by location, geography or time zone. They are happening every day in churches, libraries, schools, book stores, city community centers and virtual conference spaces. These six-person, structured conversations are designed to be self-directed, easily accessible, and welcoming to a broad array of perspectives. The structure includes conversation agreements that support comfort and safety.

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