The 2019 Unrig Summit involved than 2,000 people, including attendees from all fifty states, who participated in what was the largest gathering of the cross-partisan democracy movement to-date, according to Silver.
Silver is the director and co-founder of RepresentUs, a right-left anti-corruption group.
We see the breathtaking headlines so often, it's hard to muster the sadness and outrage they deserve: Nearly half of American families are unable to afford basics like housing and food. Bloomberg News reports that nearly 40 percent of Americans would struggle to cover a $400 emergency. Low unemployment and headlines about a strong economy bely massive swaths of Americans struggling just to make ends meet. Our roads and bridges are in disrepair. Average life expectancy, infant mortality, our educational system, and myriad other indicators continue to fall in global rankings of developed nations. Public trust in government and our elected leaders is anemic, while gridlock and polarization define politics. A soft civil war is driving everyday Americans apart in dangerous, foreboding ways.
But amidst this bleak landscape, something special is happening across our nation. Record numbers of Americans, liberal and conservative, are connecting the dots between the political dysfunction and its root cause: broken election, campaign finance, and ethics laws that skew incentives, and actually cause our elected leaders to behave badly. In 2018, a record number of democracy reforms won at the ballot and in state legislatures: anti-gerrymandering, ranked-choice voting and transparency, to name a few. Laws that empower voters with more choice and more voice, and restore trust in American democracy. The victories were driven by local grassroots leaders from the right and the left, finding common ground in support of common sense solutions. Washington politicians could learn a lot from what's happening in the states where people are putting country over party.
The movement's recent wins were celebrated—and the next wave of reform was mapped out—at the Unrig Summit in Nashville earlier this year. More than 2,000 people, including attendees from all fifty states, participated in what was the largest gathering of this cross-partisan democracy movement to-date.
What's really powerful about this is that if you look at the arc of American history, this is how change happens. From women's suffrage to marriage equality, from prohibition to term limits, reforms that faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles in Washington, D.C., prevailed across the nation. This is how change happens.
Golden is the author of "Unlock Congress" and a senior fellow at the Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy, which seeks to improve democracy on a global scale. He is also a member of The Fulcrum's advisory board.
Several weeks ago, a political reformer named John Palmer composed a tweet urging people to check out an article about "unrigging" our flawed system of government and elections. He called it a "MUST MUST READ." Palmer tagged two organizations (@usapromise and @representus) that are already working to rid our politics of big money corruption and to make all votes count equally in our elections.
A few days ago, I noticed that Palmer's tweet had been liked and retweeted more than 1,000 times. The number seemed kind of high for a "good government" message, albeit not very meaningful on its own. But then my curiosity took me to some of the retweeters' profiles, and their self-descriptions were eye-poppingly diverse.
Sign up for Calling Out Corruption, our campaign calls program targeting some of the most important anti-corruption campaigns across the country. Every Monday and Thursday, supporters like you are making calls right from their own home. This week we are supporting our local RepresentUs communities by calling members in their area to inform them of upcoming anti-corruption events! We'll train you on the script and the call program, and connect you with other callers to keep motivated and have fun. The phonebank will be open starting at 5pm ET / 2pm PT, but you have complete flexibility for when you want to jump on.
This will be the perfect opportunity to meet face-to-face with your community leaders and local anti-corruption activists, plan events and actions, and begin developing the democracy reform movement in your neighborhood. For this meeting we will discuss how to move things forward politically, review events coming up and share thoughts about our recent tabling event.