Our weekly op-ed highlight reel
News is the heart of what we're about. But The Fulcrum is also a forum for debate about what's ailing American democracy and what could make the system healthier. So here are the most provocative opinion pieces we've posted this week.
"We have celebrated the hard work and successful efforts of election workers and others around the country who managed to carry out this election under difficult circumstances. But the shameful and deeply irrational response at the Capitol to the election was simply the most recent manifestation of a longstanding movement to subvert our democracy," according to Michael Berkman and Christopher Beem of Penn State.
"Elected officials who engage in disinformation must be banned from public life. The Biden administration must take this problem seriously and act now or risk the end of American society," says Josh Berthume of the Truman National Security Project.
The institutions that mediate and control the American people's relationship to our democratic republic — the political parties — appear fragile after the events of last week, writes Jacqueline Salit of Independent Voting.
Meanwhile, here are our latest news stories:
Civic educators watched last week's riotous assault on the Capitol with a mixture of alarm and hope. The mob's brazen disregard for the truth and the rule of law shook teachers around the nation, but also made a stunning case for the need to invest in civic learning, which could enjoy a breakthrough year in 2021.
A bipartisan bill to invest $1 billion in civic education, a teacher-friendly incoming president, popular support for civic learning, a surge in youth activism — and the fragile state of American democracy itself — have all combined to create "sort-of a Sputnik moment" for civics, says Louise Dubé, the executive director of iCivics.
After a year of record-setting voter turnout, nationwide protests for racial justice and equality, and debate over equitable ballot access, it's time to recognize some of the leading players.
To that end, the organizations behind the American Civic Collaboration Awards — better known as the Civvys — announced the slate of finalists, celebrating the accomplishments of people and groups who led the way in 2020.
Democracy is in crisis and our political parties are in no shape to fix what ails the nation, writes Jacqueline Salit of Independent Voting.
Sign on to Citizen University's livestream to hear poetry and readings of civic texts, sing together, share thoughts and ideas, and hear a "civic sermon" from Eric Liu. Afterward, sign on for small-group discussions with friends and strangers from across the country.
California is widely regarded as the gold standard for campaign finance transparency, but one of the state's disclosure rules will soon face scrutiny from the Supreme Court.
The high court agreed last week to hear an appeal, brought by two conservative advocacy groups, that challenges California's law requiring nonprofits to disclose their top donors.
The Americans for Prosperity Foundation, founded by the influential Koch family, and the Thomas Moore Law Center, a conservative Catholic legal group, claim California's law infringes on their rights of free speech and association, but state officials say it is necessary to prevent charitable fraud.
Much has been made of the increase in voter participation among young people in 2020. But the act of casting a ballot represents just one method of civic engagement, and young people significantly increased their participation in other political activities last year.
New data released Tuesday by Tufts University's Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement found that nearly three times as many people ages 18 to 24 said in late 2020 that they have donated to a political campaign or registered others to vote, as compared to 2018. And the percent of young people who volunteered for a political campaign more than doubled in the same time frame.
It is misleading to say we are a nation divided into two opposing groups. In reality, there are three: pure Republicans, pure Democrats, and a group made up of independents and non-voters, writes Dave Anderson.
American Promise is seeking a full-time employee to work directly with members of the business community, connecting them with information, resources, and activities to empower their advocacy for a 28th Amendment to the the Constitution.
Democracy reformers are seeing one of their most ardent longings realized, albeit perhaps only temporarily and for truly extraordinary reasons:
The gusher of money that's steered American politics for so long has abruptly slowed this week. Two huge banks, a rasher of prominent companies and many lobbyists have all suspended campaign giving.
A few have done so across the board, spooked at how last week's insurrection at the Capitol has propelled democracy's distress to a new nadir. But most say they are closing their checkbooks only to those Republicans who countenanced the rebellion with their votes to overturn the presidential election.
Following the attack on the Capitol last week, The Democracy Group podcast network quickly created episodes to help listeners make sense of what transpired and what these events mean for the future of American democracy.
These episodes discuss how the proliferation of right-wing violence and extremism show that democracy reform is more urgently needed than ever. Hear perspectives from Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig, New America's Lee Drutman and more.
"Elected officials who engage in disinformation must be banned from public life," writes Josh Berthume, a fellow at the Turman National Security Project.
No Labels is looking for someone to handle copywriting, editorial calendar management and other communications work. For more reform jobs, head over to democracyjobs.org.