Skip to content

Latest Stories

Top Stories

Both parties are failing to put country over party – in totally different ways

Ross Sherman serves as Media Relations Manager with RepresentUs.

Democracy only works when our representatives put our country and the rule of law first. But with the midterms approaching, politicians are so focused on getting wins for their party that they're actually taking steps to weaken our elections.

Republican candidates are running on the lie that the 2020 election was stolen, and excommunicating party members who say otherwise. Meanwhile, Democrats are doubling down on a dangerous political strategy: Financially supporting election deniers in GOP primaries in the hopes they’ll be ‘weaker’ candidates in the general election. As a result, they’re pushing election deniers closer to power and closer to the mainstream. Democrats, including those on the January 6 Committee, should be unified in condemning this practice, but they’re not.

Why is all of this happening in the first place? Because our corrupt political system incentivizes this behavior. Short-term partisan gain clouds our politicians’ decisions and keeps them from doing the right thing. To preserve free elections for generations to come, Republicans should denounce all forms of election denial in their ranks, and Democrats should speak out against boosting election deniers. Without doing so, they not only risk their own credibility, but the credibility of our government as a whole.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

Beyond the immediate term, we need to fix these perverse incentives. Republicans and Democrats need to band together to pass laws that fix the underlying flaws in our political system – rendering these tactics irrelevant.

Election denial is a feature of the 2022 primary elections

Many Republican leaders and candidates, including former President Donald Trump, continue to parrot the lie that the 2020 election was stolen. They also dismiss the severity of the January 6 capitol riot. With mountains of evidence confirming a free and fair election, they know it wasn’t stolen. We heard as much in testimony during the hearings from many close to the former president. But they continue to say so anyway in an attempt to rile up their supporters and win the next election.

Let me be clear: No one on the Democratic side is running on a platform of election denial. They have also correctly been warning the country about the threats our democracy faces, and were unified in supporting federal legislation to improve our elections early this year.

But because of the same short-term political incentives, Democrats are simultaneously hoodwinking voters by running political advertisements aiding the most extreme election denier candidates in GOP primaries across the country. While the goal of this strategy is to make the general election easier for their side to win, pushing an election denier closer to power is completely irresponsible – and could backfire.

Democrats have meddled in several races throughout the primary season, including running ads to boost insurrectionist Doug Mastriano’s chances in Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial primary. And while Democrats led the charge to impeach former President Trump for his conduct around January 6, now they've turned around and poured money into a campaign to defeat one of their only Republican allies in the impeachment vote – Michigan Rep. Peter Mejier – in favor of another election denier.

The January 6 Committee must be united against election denial

The January 6 hearings have been a great example of public officials putting country over party. Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger have shown tremendous courage by telling the truth about January 6 and former President Donald Trump’s culpability. As a result, they’ve faced vicious harassment. Rep. Cheney has barely made public appearances in her Wyoming primary because of credible death threats, and Rep. Kinzinger has shared voicemails he’s received threatening his wife and baby.

On the Democratic side, Rep. Stephanie Murphy condemned her party’s strategy of propping up dangerous candidates in Republican primaries. As she told Axios, “This is bigger than any one candidate or campaign. No one should be promoting election deniers and peddlers of the 'Big Lie.'"

In order to preserve the Committee’s credibility, Democrats should follow her lead and disavow this cynical strategy. It shouldn’t be hard to say that supporting election deniers is wrong.

It’s time for more Democrats and Republicans to put country over party

None of these partisan shenanigans would be happening if we had better elections. If we swapped out closed partisan primaries for open primaries, running on a platform of election denial would be a political nonstarter and meddling in another party’s elections wouldn’t even be an option. With open primaries, every candidate regardless of party appears on the same ballot, and every registered voter can participate.

Another simple way we can chip away at perverse partisan incentives is to adopt Ranked Choice Voting. In RCV elections, voters rank candidates in order of preference. Through an instant runoff system, the eventual winner is guaranteed to win a majority of votes, leading to more acceptable candidates across the political spectrum.

Americans know that our political system is broken. We’re sick of politicians putting their own self interest ahead of what’s best for our country. It’s time for more Democrats, Republicans and everyone in between to stand up for the truth, put country over party, and advance solutions to make our elections work for us, not them.

Read More

How Chief Justices Roberts, Marshall responded to presidential bullies

How Chief Justices Roberts, Marshall responded to presidential bullies

Breslin is the Joseph C. Palamountain Jr. Chair of Political Science at Skidmore College and author of “A Constitution for the Living: Imagining How Five Generations of Americans Would Rewrite the Nation’s Fundamental Law.”

This is the latest in “A Republic, if we can keep it,” a series to assist American citizens on the bumpy road ahead this election year. By highlighting components, principles and stories of the Constitution, Breslin hopes to remind us that the American political experiment remains, in the words of Alexander Hamilton, the “most interesting in the world.”

Chief Justices John Roberts and John Marshall share more in common than their ordinary forename and stressful day job. They both fiercely defended the reputation of America’s courts; they both presided over thenastiest politicaltrials of their times; and they both couldn’t quite contain their disdain for some of the presidential antics that occurred under their watch.

Keep ReadingShow less
Trump and Biden at the debate

Donald Trump and Joe Biden engage in the first debate of the 2024 election.

Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

American presidents only debate during presidential debates

Anderson edited "Leveraging: A Political, Economic and Societal Framework," has taught at five universities and ran for the Democratic nomination for a Maryland congressional seat in 2016.

About 25 years ago, the noted political scientist and sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset invited me to lunch at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C. I was a young academic teaching various courses in ethics and political philosophy at George Washington University. He asked me: "What do you think is the most important quality a person needs to be president?"

I thought for about 30 seconds and replied, "Give a great speech."

He said, "No, schmooze."

Keep ReadingShow less
Brain examination
Science Photo Library/Getty Images

A simple solution for Biden, for Trump, for America

Butler is a husband, father, grandfather, business executive, entrepreneur and political observer.

I have said it before, and I will say it again:We deserve better.

It is bad enough that our only real choices for president come November will be old, white, polarizing men tainted by scandal. After nearly four years in what is arguably the most demanding and stressful job in the universe, Joe Biden, whose cognitive capabilities were subject to question even in the last campaign, now appears even to ardent supporters to be too old for the job. Whether they question his ability to do the job or his ability to win the election is unclear.

And while it may be less obvious, Trump provides his own evidence that he is not the man he used to be, neurologically.

Keep ReadingShow less
Isaac Cramer
Issue One

Meet the Faces of Democracy: Isaac Cramer

Minkin is a research associate at Issue One. Van Voorhis is a research intern at Issue One.

More than 10,000 officials across the country run U.S. elections. This interview is part of a series highlighting the election heroes who are the faces of democracy.

South Carolinian Isaac Cramer developed a passion for politics and elections at a young age, witnessing his mother cast her first vote after achieving her long-standing dream of American citizenship. He joined the Charleston County Board of Voter Registration and Elections in 2014 and began serving as its executive director in March 2021. He oversees election administration for more than 300,000 registered voters in South Carolina’s third most populous county. Charleston spans along the state’s southern coast and shares a name with the largest city in the state, where Cramer resides.

Cramer, who is not affiliated with any political party, has received prestigious honors for his extensive efforts to reform election administration and ensure elections are fair and secure. He earned a Clearinghouse Award from the Election Assistance Commission in 2022 and the J. Mitchell Graham Memorial Award from the South Carolina Association of Counties in 2023. He is also a two-time recipient of the state’s Carolina’s Excellence in Elections award. Earlier this summer, he was appointed president of the South Carolina Association of Registration and Election Officials.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

Keep ReadingShow less
Thomas Main

"I think the roots of racism run deep in this country. This means that the potential audience for illiberal racialist movements is much deeper than the potential audience for anarchism and communism," said professor Thomas Main

Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation

Illiberal ideas are having a negative effect on our political culture

Berman is a distinguished fellow of practice at The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, co-editor of Vital City, and co-author of "Gradual: The Case for Incremental Change in a Radical Age." This is the first in a series of interviews titled "The Polarization Project."

In a 2022 speech at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, President Joe Biden issued a dramatic warning: Democracy in the United States is “under assault,” he announced. Biden declared that the dangers of rising extremism, particularly from “MAGA Republicans,” posed a “clear and present danger” to the country.

In making this claim, Biden was echoing the sentiments of countless pundits, think tanks, and editorial pages that have been warning of a “coming crisis.” According to Rachel Kleinfeld of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, "Ideas that were once confined to fringe groups now appear in the mainstream media. White-supremacist ideas, militia fashion, and conspiracy theories spread via gaming websites, YouTube channels, and blogs, while a slippery language of memes, slang, and jokes blurs the line between posturing and provoking violence, normalizing radical ideologies and activities."

Keep ReadingShow less