our strategy
Our strategy is grounded in scholar Lee Drutman's concept of a 'two-party doom loop.'

Our elected officials are now intensely reluctant to work across the aisle, even to address the urgent issues their constituents care about. Why are politicians so scared of their own parties’ radicalized extremes? How do we re-incentivize political collaboration? It’s in answer to these questions that we turn to the concept of the two-party doom loop, or, simply put, the theory that it’s our two-party system itself that cyclically undermines government efficacy and drives us apart.

It’s relatively straightforward to pinpoint the driving causes of this doom loop. Our strategy is grounded in addressing three specific issues:

the issues

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.

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 primary 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 our national community, and provide free tools to empower anyone who wants to engage with our political system to do, so as easily as possible. Combined, we believe these strategic pillars will help us effectively combat dangerous hyper-partisanship.

what that means

We support four central reform tenets that we believe will help restore our democracy.

It’s eminently clear that our fundamentally broken political system is the most pressing challenge to effective government. Our elected officials no longer serve the American public—where once political action and accomplishment were keys to a successful political career, campaign politics now dominate the electoral landscape. Politicians are now 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 regularly run tailored campaigns to champion specific policy proposals. We also ensure that a minimum 90 percent of any and all donations is directly channeled to leading democracy reform organizations, including Demand Justice, No Labels, and the Unite America Fund.
what that means

We educate the American public through community-based conversation.

We provide the context and platform for real cross-partisan dialogue. We manage an active, dynamic blog community, host a monthly podcast, and run regular PEP Talks, a hybrid lecture-presentation series.

It’s important to note that though we advocate for dialogue, we do not advocate for moderatism. While the Political Empathy Project is intended, at least in part, to find common ground between those of opposing parties, we believe that common ground already exists and that we can rediscover it through civic education and conversation. Consequently, we are not a non-partisan organization, and we do not explicitly advocate for moderatism in any form.
what that means

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

We create and maintain action tool kits, including writing guides, scripts for calls to representatives, and more. We also maintain a curated library of external resources, including books, other organizations in the field, and tools for civic engagement, so you know where to go once you’re ready to do more.

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