Colorado shows us | Three Things Thursday
Happy Fourth of July Holiday everyone!
Perhaps it’s not a surprise that among the Unite America team, Independence Day is a popular holiday. Yes, it’s a day of patriotic overload; a red, white, and blue bonanza. But we would be doing a disservice to our country and to the individuals who founded our nation if we didn’t also use the Fourth of July to recognize the many ways in which our country could be improved.
In order to form a more perfect union (yes, from the Constitution, I know), we must honestly reflect on our country, our history, and our future, and see where we’ve failed and where we can do better.
Here are three things to think about this week.
As we celebrate the anniversary of our nation ridding itself of unrepresentative, monarchical rule, a new survey from Democracy Fund’s Voter Study Group found that an increasing percentage of Americans would support more authoritarian-rule, and that others still would support military-rule. Authoritarianism, in other words, is sounding increasingly appealing.
Perhaps most striking is the clear double standard that partisans hold when considering potential election outcomes. 57% of Democrats believe it would be appropriate for a Democrat to call for a do-over election because of foreign interference, while 29% of Republicans think it would be appropriate for President Trump to refuse to leave office based on claims of illegal voting.
In short, Americans like our democracy. But increasingly, we distrust it. To ensure the security of our democracy, we have to ensure that our government is capable of representing and serving the American people. It’s our nation to keep, and our democracy to perfect. (Constitutional Republic, I know.)
(It was a smashing success!) Colorado held their state primary, Tuesday, using a universal vote at home system. Amid national stories about ballot chaos and poll lines in other states, Colorado’s election was… virtually seamless. The state recorded record turnout, with 1.6 million people voting in the election, and nearly all of them (99.3% of voters) choosing to mail their ballots, or drop them off at a drop-off box. And results didn’t take long either; the Democratic U.S. Senate primary (the only contested race at the top of the ticket) was called by 7:30 on election night.
While it’s unfair to compare Colorado, which has had universal vote at home since 2014, with states that are hustling to expand their absentee voting programs at the moment, Colorado can still serve as an example of what vote at home looks like when it’s done right. Record turnout, zero poll lines, and above all, unmatched voter security. (Did I mention they also have open primaries?!)
Finally, in a fragmented and often partisan media environment, understanding whether you’re getting the whole story can be difficult. Partisan echo chambers amplify certain stories, while suppressing others. Working for a multi-partisan organization, I’m often asked what news sources I read or trust. Well, let me introduce you to Ground News.
Ground News puts a spotlight on news that publications from one side of the political spectrum or the other had little to no reporting on. In a hyper-partisan world, not only does news get spun and biased to cater to one party's agenda, but there is also complete omission of certain news stories that don't gel with the newspaper or TV network's list of issues. They deliver all the important news stories of the day from an average of 12 different perspectives ranging from local, national, and foreign news outlets both on the left and the right so that every American can have an informed conversation with every other American no matter what their personal politics.
I highly recommend their weekly Blindspot Report newsletter. Not only is it filled with important stories you might have missed, but it’s eye opening to see how fractured news coverage in our country has become.