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First Second Books

A new nonfiction graphic novel probes democracy's challenges, inspires fixes

How did American democracy get so broken and what are the paths forward to fix it?

These complex questions are explored with levity and clarity in a new nonfiction graphic novel. In "Unrig: How to Fix Our Broken Democracy," the campaign finance reform advocate Daniel Newman dives into gerrymandering, money in politics, voting rights and more — all through comics illustrated by author and illustrator George O'Connor.

Having worked in the democracy reform space for the better part of two decades, Newman says he saw a critical need for material that explained the issues plaguing American politics, while also providing optimism and inspiration for making the system work better. Sales of the books, which start next week, will suggest whether he was right.

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Expansive, politically tough approach eyed to combat online election deceit

No fewer than 34 distinct but collaborative actions by governments, technology companies, candidates, the media and the education system are required to successfully combat digital deceptions and protect the integrity of the 2020 presidential election, a pair of non-profit groups argues.

The groups, MapLight and the Institute for the Future, say the United States was collectively slow to comprehend – and remains far behind in combatting – the pervasive influence on public opinion of political bots, troll farms, fake social media accounts, networks of disinformation websites and deceptive digital advertising. And technology companies and the campaigners themselves are not acting nearly aggressively enough to prevent the specious practices that made headlines in 2016 and 2018 from being repeated and magnified in the future.

But the sprawling roster of proposals in their new report, unveiled today, includes almost two dozen that would require bipartisan collaboration at a sharply divided Capitol or assertive actions by a Trump administration that has so far seemed disinterested in playing a strong regulatory hand in politics.

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