Democracy can use our help during tough times
The experiences of the Trump era highlight many opportunities for strengthening democracy. Here is what we can do.
Intellectual honesty combines good faith with a primary motivation toward seeking true beliefs. Elevating intellectual honesty to a primary value can bring us together as we recognize that reality is our common ground. Agreement on matters of fact provides a firm foundation for practicing dialogue on controversial issues.
These actions promote intellectual honesty:
· Take the Pro-truth pledge, and encourage others to take the pledge.
· Strengthen Social Media Community Standards by verifying that each user represents one identified person, tracing the origin of each post to an identified individual, rapidly identifying and removing false or misleading content, differentiating private individuals from journalists, requiring journalists to publish their journalism standards, and rapidly disciplining or removing users who violate these standards. Provide transparency into advertising sponsors, and recommendation algorithms, and offer an advertiser-free option to users.
· Publish the journalism standards adopted by any organization that represents itself as practicing journalism.
· Individuals who are careful to know how they know can reliably identify who is being intellectually honest and who is being deceptive, careless, or misled. Increasing your media literacy will improve your ability to identify reliable sources and abandon unreliable ones. Practicing dialogue strengthens democracy.
· The free flow of information promotes intellectual honesty. Censoring, omitting, deleting, or selectively restricting information distorts facts, limits investigations, and inhibits the public’s ability to obtain representative evidence. For example, the Trump administration “issued de facto gag orders to government science agencies like the EPA and USDA, ordered that the EPA take down its climate webpage, and have mandated that any studies or data from EPA scientists must undergo review by political appointees before they can be released to the public.” Such censorship is inconsistent with intellectual honesty.
For the People Act of 2019
The For The People Act of 2019 (H.R. 1, 2019) is a bill introduced and passed in the United States House of Representatives to expand voting rights, reduce partisan gerrymandering, strengthen ethics rules, and limit the influence of private donor money in politics.
Support and passage of this or a similar bill can greatly strengthen our democracy.
National Popular Vote
The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It has been enacted into law by 15 states and DC with 196 electoral votes. It needs an additional 74 electoral votes to go into effect.
The shortcomings of the current system stem from state “winner-take-all” laws that award all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate receiving the most popular votes in each state. A national popular vote would solve many problems with our current presidential electoral system and strengthen our democracy.
Rank Choice Voting
Ranked choice voting makes democracy more fair and functional. It works in a variety of contexts. It is a simple change that can have a big impact.
Ranked Choice Voting is a way to ensure elections are fair for all voters. It allows voters the option to rank candidates in order of preference: one, two, three, and so forth.
If your vote cannot help your top choice win, your vote counts for your next choice. This allows you to vote for a third-party candidate without reducing support for candidates from dominant parties. This can increase the number of influential political parties and strengthen our democracy.
Election System Improvements
To ensure democracy works for everyone, voting and elections must be free, fair, and accessible. Our election systems can be improved to increase voter registration, ensure voters’ access to the ballot box, help voters who are having trouble casting their ballots, and by working with election administrators to ensure our voting systems and machines are safe, reliable, and secure.
Supreme Court Term Limits
Many voters, elected officials, and judges are dissatisfied with how Supreme Court justices are appointed. Several solutions have been proposed and adopting 18-year term limits for Justices can solve many problem. Restoring public confidence in the Supreme Court can help strengthen democracy.