Every Voice: Sowing Hope for Democracy

The Sowing Hope for Democracy project advances the case that establishing an inclusive and democratic campaign finance system should be regarded as a powerful and necessary precondition for achieving progressive social change. We want, in particular, to make a winning case for this priority among those who identify with the "resistance" or with any significant organized efforts to address inequity.

The Problem

We seek to engage those who identify with the “Resistance” that has developed in the face of serious threats to roll back the policy advances made in recent years and inspire them to embrace and advocate for a reform agenda to overhaul the way we conduct our elections and make policy in this country. These structural reforms of our democracy must be driven by a vision of a democracy in which every voice is heard and politicians are accountable to their constituents, not to a tiny group of deep-pocketed donors or their hired guns on K Street. This relative handful of determined operatives has been flagrantly destabilizing the fragile infrastructure of voting and campaign regulations that have expanded our democracy over the past few generations. They have made it clear that they would rather dismantle it than level the playing field for everyday Americans to participate with equal fervor. Until we reverse their gains, any policy advances we make on the country's substantive challenges like inequality and climate chaos will be provisional and tenuous because the power advantage will remain with those who now have their thumbs on the scale and are desperate to protect their power and privilege.

The Solution

Many progressive organizations, through their 501(c)4 arms or other political connections, have concentrated their energies on influencing the outcome of the 2018 elections. Every Voice, our 501(c)4 organization, has been working closely with many of them encouraging them to make commitments to champion reform a threshold issue for their endorsement process. Every Voice Center's Sowing Hope for Democracy project focuses, meanwhile, on nonpartisan activities that will equip such organizations - and others to take advantage of our openly available resources - with accessible messages, tools, activities, and case studies to inspire their members to become passionate advocates for the kind of small donor-driven public financing that would make it much easier for them to hold politicians accountable. We have opted to concentrate this program very intentionally in 2018 on messaging and content-development activities designed to persuade and engage stakeholder organizations representing communities most at risk in the current policy environment. We expect more candidates for public office to feel compelled by either the media or their constituents to take a position on how to break the stranglehold of big money on our politics, that journalists and pundits will focus more on the issue when they talk with or about candidates, and that large membership organizations will also begin to insist that candidates state their positions about small donor democracy before considering endorsement or introducing them to their constituents. We believe these outcomes will advance the reform demands to our campaign finance system closer to the top of the progressive agenda.

Stage of Development

  • Early Stage
  • Established Prototype
  • Scaling
  • Other

Organization to Receive Funds

Every Voice Center

This project was nominated by: