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Democracy reform groups seize time of racial protest to press their cause

A week of escalating and violent protest against racial injustice has prompted democracy reform groups to start uniting behind a message that resonates with their own goals.

Responding to the wave of demonstrations against the deaths of black people killed by police, many of these organizations are reaching out to declare unequivocal support for the marchers. But their statements, which grew in volume Monday, are also seeking to connect the furious urgency of the moment to the pursuit of their sometimes more esoteric sounding agenda.

Achieving racial justice and fixing all that's broken with governance and politics are two sides of the same pursuit, they say. Giving all Americans an equal standing is a prerequisite to securing a democracy that works for all voters, but reducing the current imbalance in democratic power is at the same time a prerequisite for giving all voices a chance to be heard.

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You've winnowed the field: Democracy Madness reaches the Final Four

The democracy reform movement is full of scores of ideas for improving the American political system, many of them compatible with one another. But we have challenged readers of The Fulcrum to pick their favorites from among a field of 64, narrowing the options as we go. And now we're down to the Final Four.

It's time now to vote in the two semi-final matchups of the Democracy Madness tournament, which features the winners of our "regional" brackets: Voting, Money in Politics, Elections and the Best of the Rest.

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The two tweets marked with a fact-check warning, prompting the president's retaliatory threats.

Trump threatens social media after Twitter fact checks his vote-by-mail claims

The fight over combating disinformation, one of the main scourges of a functioning democracy, has gone to an unprecedented place in the past 24 hours.

President Trump is now threatening to impose new federal regulation on social media companies, or even force them to shut down. That was his extraordinary vow of retaliation on Wednesday to Twitter's path-breaking decision the day before to call out falsehoods in a pair of presidential tweets.

Compounding the importance of the moment for the cause of good government — which is supposed to rely on unfettered political speech, an independent media and truth-bound public officials all acting in harmony — is the topic at the center of the dispute: Wholly unsubstantiated claims from a president of the United States that the American electoral system is being corrupted.

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