Wanted: Ideas for how to strengthen American democracy
American democracy needs an intervention, and you could help facilitate it.
Stanford University is calling for ideas on how to improve Americans' commitment to democratic principles as part of its Strengthening Democracy Challenge. The contest aims to use "collaboration, cooperation and crowdsourcing" to identify and test ways to curb extreme partisanship.
The Strengthening Democracy Challenge is open to all — academics, practitioners, industry experts and everyday citizens. Submissions are being accepted until Oct. 1.
Stanford is emphasizing short-term programming in this competition. The competition is focused on interventions that people can experience online in under eight minutes that "will reduce Americans' anti-democratic attitudes, support for partisan violence and/or partisan animosity."
The interventions could ask participants to do one or more of the following: read, write, watch, listen or respond. Submissions must also be ethical, online, scalable, short, comprehensible in English, costless and aligned.
A multidisciplinary team of political scientists, psychologists, sociologists and economists from Stanford, MIT, Northwestern University and Columbia University will evaluate the submissions and choose up to 25 of the most promising ideas. Each of those selected interventions will then be tested in separate groups of 1,000 participants (500 Republicans and 500 Democrats). There will also be a control group of 5,000 participants.
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Up to $45,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to the teams submitting interventions that most reduce anti-democratic attitudes, partisan animosity and support for partisan violence. Winners will also receive authorship in the primary publication resulting from the challenge and recognition at a virtual conference following the challenge.
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