About Us

Why are our elected officials so reluctant to work across the aisle?

Why are politicians so scared of their own parties’ radicalized extremes? How do we re-incentivize political collaboration? To answer these questions, we turn to political scientist Lee Drutman's two-party doom loop. Simply put, this is the theory that it’s our two-party system itself that undermines government efficacy and drives us apart.

It’s pretty straightforward to pinpoint the driving causes of this doom loop. The Political Empathy Project recognizes three big issues, specifically, that we need to address.

Competition is virtually nonexistent.

80% of all Congressional districts are currently considered ‘safe’ for one party — Democrats and Republicans have cooperated to corrupt fair systems, drawing ridiculous district lines and creating arbitrary third-party restrictions to ensure that primary elections are the only ones that truly matter in most legislative districts.

We don't vote — or we can't.

While it’s true that an estimated 66 percent of eligible Americans voted in the 2020 presidential election — a record turnout — that number is the exception, not the norm. In 2018, just 53 percent of eligible citizens voted, a number marking a four-decade high in midterm election turnout. American voter turnout is slowly increasing, but there’s a long way to go, and voter suppression still runs rampant through our electoral system — in fact, 11 million Americans are currently unable to participate in taxpayer-funded primary elections just because they’re not registered with either of our two dominant political parties.

We’ve lost the ability to hold our elected officials accountable.

100 percent of members of Congress who lost their 2018 primaries were defeated by challengers from the extreme left or extreme right. As select party activists and well-funded special interest groups gain control over party primaries, politicians escape accountability from the rest of their constituency.

We exist to do three things: advocate for smart electoral systems reform, educate through community-driven conversation, and provide free resources to empower anyone who wants to engage with our political system to do so, as easily as possible.

We support four central reform proposals.

It’s clear that our fundamentally broken electoral system is the most dangerous threat to our democracy. Our elected officials no longer serve the American public — where once political action and accomplishment were the keys to a successful political career, campaign politics now dominate the electoral landscape. Politicians are beholden not to their constituents, but to their donors: big money corporations, special interest groups, and party leaders.

We support balancing courts, establishing independent redistricting committees, opening state primaries, and implementing ranked choice voting.

We educate the American public through community-driven conversation.

We believe mission-based organization should, when possible, be run by the same people they serve. That's why our blog and podcast are both community-driven, and always will be. If you're interested in joining us for a podcast, writing, or have any other suggestions, please let us know!

Most importantly, we provide open-ended support—just send us a message!

We empower every American with free, accessible resources to help engage with our political system.

In addition to our advocacy and content production, we maintain a curated resource library intended to make civic engagement as easy as possible. We create and share our own guides, and maintain a living, searchable directory of other organizations and resources in the field. It's our hope that no matter where you are in your own political journey, these resources can help you on your way.

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