Reinhold Ernst is a veteran and advocate of democracy related reforms as a member of Veterans for Political Innovation.
Most Americans and even veterans are unfamiliar with the relatively new organization, Veterans for Political Innovation - VPI for short. There are a lot of organizations out there, so allow me to quickly lay out the basic "five W's."
Why does VPI exist?
"Why?" is the most important question. Our mission is to build and mobilize a community of military veterans to advocate for election innovations that unlock competition, make our politics less toxic and our government more effective. In other words, we realize our beloved republic is struggling to govern effectively, which we believe is largely due to flawed democratic processes. These processes are the collective set of incentives - or disincentives, really - for collaboration, and should put country over party or theatrics.
Who is in VPI?:
VPI is currently a nexus of over 1,500 veterans from all military services. But why veterans exclusively? There are two primary reasons. First, veterans share a common bond, having sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution and we generally are staunch patriots. Our nation's increasing dysfunction uniquely pains us, so VPI is an outlet for veterans to share experiences and ideas on how to enact political innovations that will get our nation back on track. Second and more importantly, veterans as a group are among the most trusted people in American society. Our words and efforts carry significant weight, and VPI sees this moment as not just an opportunity, but as a responsibility to contribute to the national conversation.
What, where and when?:
The good news is that great initiatives are happening in all states and territories, unique to their respective laws and circumstances. VPI simply aims to give energy to those initiatives as opportunities arise. But in a bigger picture, VPI seeks to emphasize open primaries and voting innovations like Instant Runoff Voting, which together amount to a Final Four or Five solution. You may recognize this as something like the "Alaska model." VPI is not wed to one single solution, but we just point to this model as one example of how bold innovations are possible, necessary, and effective.
How do we connect?
If you're a veteran, military family member, or if you know of any veterans who are feeling discouraged about the state of our national political discourse, then we hope you take a few minutes to check out our website and consider shooting us a note. For starters, we have a ton more info right here: https://www.veteransforpoliticalinnovation.org/.
If you'd like to put a toe in the water, click on Menu, then State Leaders and shoot your state leader a note to say hello. If you're ready to jump all-in, then submit a volunteer form. That'll get you set-up for an introductory virtual meeting with one of VPI's founders to talk through all of your thoughts and questions. Onward!