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"In the grand scheme of human history, democracy is still a germ of an idea," writes Nick Penniman.

No silver bullets

Penniman is the CEO of Issue One, a cross-partisan political reform group. (It is incubating, but journalistically independent from, The Fulcrum.)

I started Issue One five years ago to recruit more voices from inside and outside Washington into the movement fixing our ailing democracy. Since then, I've addressed large crowds; sat with members of Congress from both parties; moderated sessions with billionaires; debated professors; convened lawyers, think tanks and advocacy groups; advised political candidates and White House officials, and huddled late into the night with concerned citizens in bookstores and auditoriums in little red towns and big blue cities while on a book tour.

In nearly every setting, I'm almost always asked the same question. Actually, it's usually an assertion dressed up as a question: What's the silver bullet for fixing our democracy?

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