Tag Archive for: common ground

Patriotism: Pride, Race and Reckoning

CGC - Episode 85 - Race Series

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Navigating love, critique and national identity: a retired Navy commander explores the paradox of patriotism.

Memorial Day honors the men and women who sacrificed their lives in service to our country. In our next podcast episode, we discuss different ways to look at patriotism. Our guest, retired US naval officer and Washington Post newspaper columnist Theodore Johnson ponders the question, “How can we take pride in a nation with a history of injustice and inequality?”

At a high school football game, Johnson, who is African American, stood at attention when the national anthem was played. His teenage son, who was about to play in the game, took a knee in a protest against how he saw police treating African Americans. Johnson argues that both acts were expressions of patriotism and is proud of his son’s decision.

“For me, being a patriot is not about uncritical celebration and talking only about how exceptional we are and how great the country is,” Johnson tells us. “Being a true patriot requires that you both love the nation and critique it.” On this insightful episode of “Let’s Find Common Ground“, Theodore Johnson also discusses his thoughts for how America can have more productive and uplifting discussions about race.

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Theodore (Ted) R. Johnson

Ted Johnson is a senior advisor, leading New America’s flagship US@250 initiative. Johnson’s research explores the role that race plays in electoral politics and its influence on the national narrative and the American identity.

A former New America National Fellow, Johnson is a retired U.S. Navy commander following a two-decade career that included service as a White House Fellow and speechwriter to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Prior to New America, Johnson was a senior fellow and senior director of the Fellows Program at the Brennan Center for Justice as well as a research manager at Deloitte.

Johnson’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, National Review, and Atlantic, among other publications. Johnson is a columnist for The Washington Post and author of When the Stars Begin to Fall: Overcoming Racism and Renewing the Promise of America (Grove Atlantic, 2021). Johnson’s currently working on a book about race and American democracy’s first principles.

Johnson is a proud HBCU graduate, holding a BS in mathematics from Hampton University as well as an ALM with a concentration in international relations from Harvard University and a doctorate of law and policy from Northeastern University.
Want to hear more? Check out our podcast page to see all the discussions!

The Abortion Talks: They Found Respect, But Not Common Ground

Episode 84 - Frances Hogan & Rev. Anne Fower - The Abortion Talks: They Found Respect, But Not Common Ground

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One is pro-life, the other pro-choice: how two leaders found friendship after a deadly clinic attack.

We speak with two women from opposing sides of the bitter and often toxic debate over abortion. Frances Hogan and The Rev. Anne Fowler were involved in a series of years-long intensive, secret talks. Their candid conversations began after a gunman opened fire at two Massachusetts abortion clinics nearly thirty years ago. The attack left two women dead and five people injured.

In this episode, we learn the extraordinary story of how Anne and Frances gained a much deeper understanding and respect for one another. They even became friends, but did not find common ground on the issue that divides them. Neither changed their views about access to abortion.

Both Frances and Anne were among those profiled in the new documentary, The Abortion Talks, about what happened after the deadly attacks. On this episode of Let’s Find Common Ground, both of them explain how difficult it was to be part of many hours of grueling conversations. We hear how they learned to overcome fear, stereotyping and anger. Our podcast includes moments of warmth, humor and surprise.

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Ep 84 – The Abortion Talks: They Found Respect, But Not Common Ground

Frances Hogan

Frances Hogan is an accomplished legal professional who has served in leadership roles for numerous pro-life and Catholic organizations, including Women Affirming Life and the Pro-Life Committee of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Advisory Council to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. She has also served as a member of the Steering Committee of the Eighth Synod of the Archdiocese of Boston, as Chair of its Pro-Life Committee, on the Board of the Pro-Life Legal Defense Fund, on the Board of the Value of Life Committee, on the Board and as President of Massachusetts Citizens for Life. In 1996, Ms. Hogan was named by the Vatican as a Corresponding Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life and she served in that capacity for twenty years.

Reverend Anne Fowler

The Reverend Anne C. Fowler is an Episcopal priest semi-retired from parish ministry.

She has lived out her commitment to women’s reproductive health and choice by serving on the boards of Planned Parenthood, MA, the board of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, and by serving on and chairing the board of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts.

Want to hear more? Check out our podcast page to see all the discussions!

Divided We Stand? What Americans Really Think About Politics

Episode 83 - Divided We Stand? What Americans Really Think About Politics - Featuring John Geer & Kate Carney

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What is the true state of American political opinion? New research challenges assumptions.

It’s often said that America is as politically divided as it has ever been. In this week’s show, we dive into the data from two different groups that study American attitudes. What they discovered challenges many assumptions about the current state of US politics, and offers us a sense of context missing from noisy ‘us versus them’ type arguments.

John Geer of Vanderbilt University discusses the latest findings from Vanderbilt’s Unity Index, which tracks Americans’ trust in institutions and democracy. Kate Carney, chief of staff at More in Common in Washington DC, talks about the group’s ‘Speaking to the Exhausted Majority’ report.  Both reports are examples of deep research into the state of American public opinion and where common ground may lie.

We discuss the extent to which US democracy is under threat, who really makes up the ‘exhausted majority’ of American voters, and what liberals and conservatives get wrong about the other side.

Tune in to hear more on this episode of Let’s Find Common Ground.

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Ep 83 – Divided We Stand? What Americans Really Think About Politics

John Geer

John G. Geer is the Ginny and Conner Searcy Dean of the College of Arts and Science at Vanderbilt University and a professor of political science. Geer helped to launch and currently manages the Vanderbilt Project on Unity & Democracy, a trans-institutional initiative that aims to overcome political polarization through sound research and evidence-based discourse. Geer is a founder of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions and now co-directs the influential Vanderbilt Poll, which launched in January 2011. Geer has published five books and more than 20 articles on presidential politics and elections, and previously served as editor of The Journal of Politics. Geer joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 1995. He earned his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1986 and his bachelor’s degree from Franklin and Marshall College in 1980. Prior to coming to Vanderbilt, he was on the faculty at Arizona State University.

Kate Carney

Kate is Chief of Staff at More in Common US, a non-partisan research and civic organization that studies the forces pulling America apart, seeking to disrupt polarization and forge a stronger sense of what Americans have in common. She has over a decade of multisector experience that includes policy advising on Capitol Hill, founding a nonprofit in Haiti, and leading corporate social responsibility programs at a Fortune 100 company. She also is a proud Gold Looper, having circumnavigated 8,000 miles of U.S. eastern waterways on a 31-foot trawler around the Great Loop. She has a MPP from University of Maryland and a BA from Ohio Wesleyan University, where she also serves on the Board of Trustees. Kate lives with her husband, Tim, in Washington, DC.

Want to hear more? Check out our podcast page to see all the discussions!

High Conflict vs. Good Conflict: The Vital Difference

Episode 82 - Depolarizing America with Amanda Ripley

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How can Americans break free from the cycle of destructive conflict and find common ground?

Every day we are bombarded with negative news and polarizing opinions from politicians, pundits, and others who seek attention, power, and money by escalating division. Our guest, Amanda Ripley, calls them “conflict entrepreneurs.”

In this episode of Let’s Find Common Ground, Amanda explains why she believes the problem we face in America isn’t too much conflict. Instead, it’s the type of disagreements we are having. We hear about the crucial differences between constructive conflict, where different sides seek to find common ground, and destructive conflict where discord distills into a good-versus-evil kind of feud, with an “us” and a “them”.

Amanda Ripley is a journalist and columnist for The Washington Post. Her recent book, High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out covers many of the topics we discuss in this episode. We hear how people escape high conflict and what willing communities can do to short-circuit the feedback loops of outrage and blame.

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Ep 82 – High Conflict vs. Good Conflict: The Vital Difference

Amanda Ripley

Amanda Ripley is a New York Times bestselling author and an investigative journalist who writes about human behavior and High Conflict - Why We Get Trapped and How to Get Out. change for the Atlantic, the Washington Post and other outlets. She is the author of High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out, The Smartest Kids in the World–and How They Got That Way and The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes, and Why, and she is the host of the Slate podcast How To!

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Break Out of Your Bubble to Build Friendship and Empathy

Episode 81 - Featuring Rev. Dr. Latricia Edwards Scriven & Father Tim Holeda

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How can we build stronger relationships? Hear the unique perspective of two religious leaders.

Our last show focused on finding common ground when talking to strangers. In this show, we explore friendship and empathy with two guests who are friends themselves, a Catholic priest and a Protestant pastor.

Father Tim Holeda leads Saint Thomas More Co-Cathedral, and Latricia Scriven is pastor of Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church, both in Tallahassee, Florida.

As religious leaders, our guests offer a perspective many people don’t have these days. They grapple with moral questions in their work that we often don’t consider, and draw on the wisdom of ancient texts to help them navigate our complicated modern world.

Tune in to hear more on this latest episode of Let’s Find Common Ground. Thank you to The Village Square and The Village Square’s God Squad, a politically diverse group of faith leaders, for making this show possible.

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Ep 81 – Break Out of Your Bubble to Build Friendship and Empathy

Rev. Dr. Latricia Edwards Scriven

Rev. Dr. Latricia Edwards Scriven is the senior pastor of Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church in Tallahassee, Florida. She previously served at the church as Executive Director and Pastor of the IMPACT@FAMU Wesley Foundation at Florida A&M University, and as Pastor of New Life United Methodist Church.

She strives to create spaces that are authentic, energetic, interactive, thoughtful, and engaging. Pastor Latricia is the author of the children’s books, “When Jesus Laughs“, “When Jesus Rests“, “When Jesus Weeps“, “When She Speaks“, and “Laughter Is My Superpower.

Father Tim Holeda

Father Tim Holeda currently serves as Rector of the Co-Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Tallahassee, Florida, and is the Director of Vocations and Seminarians for the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee. He has been an ordained priest in the Catholic Church since 2011. Father Tim attended seminary at St. Vincent De Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, FL. He became a Catholic while an undergrad student at Florida State University. He served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve throughout college.

Want to hear more? Check out our podcast page to see all the discussions!

Break Out of Your Bubble: Talk to a Stranger

Common Ground Committee - Episode 80 - Featuring Kio Stark

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How can we foster a more tolerant society? Here’s why one researcher recommends talking to strangers.

Most of us live comfortably in our bubbles, interacting with people who think and often look like us. We may sift out others who don’t fit our mold.

A long pandemic hasn’t helped: Covid has made many people wary of being around strangers, let alone talking to them. If you live in an urban area you operate by invisible rules where you pay just enough attention to a stranger, allowing each of you the space to carry on politely…and distantly. But our guest says taking the time to talk to people you don’t know can bring unexpected pleasures, and lead to more openness and tolerance.

Kio Stark is a qualitative researcher and the author of the book When Strangers Meet. She says when you engage with another person in a store, on a park bench, in line at the DMV, you are getting a peek into someone else’s world and entering into a shared humanity. You’re forging a connection that may help you see the world from another person’s perspective, even if only for a few minutes.

There are times when you may need to disengage quickly, and we talk about those too. Still, more often that not, Kio says, “a conversation with a stranger can open up your idea of who you think of as part of the society in which you live.”

Hear more on the latest episode of Let’s Find Common Ground.

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Ep 80 – Break Out of Your Bubble: Talk to a Stranger

Kio Stark

Kio Stark is the author of When Strangers Meet, the novel Follow Me Down and the independent learning handbook Don’tKio Stark Book - When Strangers Meet Go Back to School. She is a qualitative researcher, and writes, consults, teaches, and speaks around the world about stranger interactions, independent learning, and how people relate to technology. In other lives, Kio has worked in journalism, interactive advertising, community research, and game design. She has taught about stranger interactions and intimacy and technology and how we mistake technology for people at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.

On any given day you might find her traipsing around with a camera that holds film and if you run into her on the street, she will likely talk to you.

Want to hear more? Check out our podcast page to see all the discussions!

Mass Shootings and Guns: Seeking Common Ground

Common Ground Committee - Episode 79 - Featuring Patrik Jonsson & Ryan Busse

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The problem of gun violence is growing worse. Why is finding a common solution so elusive?

In the first eight weeks of this year, America’s epidemic of mass shootings and gun crimes showed no signs of reprieve. In fact, the crisis may be getting much worse. According to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit group that tracks firearm violence in the U.S., there have been at least 90 mass shootings since January 1.

In this episode of Let’s Find Common Ground, we take a close look at gun violence and the search for common ground. We learn why so many Americans love guns and say they need them for self-defense. We also hear about differences in regional attitudes to guns, and what happens to communities that witness mass shootings.

Our guests are journalist Patrik Jonsson and gun safety advocate Ryan Busse, the author of Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry That Radicalized America.

Patrik Jonsson is the Atlanta-based correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor. He writes about The South, gun rights, race, extremist groups, natural disasters, and hockey. Ryan Busse grew up around guns —  hunting and shooting with his father — and had a long and successful executive career in the gun industry. Despite being a strong critic of the NRA, he’s still a proud gun owner, hunter, and outdoorsman who lives in Montana.

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Ep 79 – Mass Shootings and Guns: Seeking Common Ground

Patrik Jonsson

Patrik Jonsson is the Atlanta-based correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor, covering the South. He became a full-time Monitor staff writer in 2005 after covering Hurricane Katrina’s immediate aftermath for the paper and moved to Atlanta. Among many other things, he writes about race, gun rights, tornadoes, extremist groups, and hockey. Patrik lives in a small 1920s-era bungalow in Atlanta’s Kirkwood neighborhood with his wife, Alice, and two children, Jake and Lena. When he’s not in the bureau or taking care of the kids, you’ll most likely find Patrik playing hood hockey – an urban version of street hockey – or chugging along some Southern waterway in his motorized canoe. He is probably the only Monitor correspondent with a commercial fishing license.

Ryan Busse

Ryan Busse is an author and former firearms executive who spent many years in the industryGUNFIGHT - My Battle against the Industry that Radicalized America - Ryan Busse and was nominated multiple times by industry colleagues for the Shooting Industry Person of The Year Award.

As Ryan’s career progressed, he became increasingly concerned by what he calls “troubling NRA extremism” that he believed was radicalizing millions of Americans. He spent nearly two decades finding ways to fight back from the inside and left the gun industry in 2020. His book Gunfight was published in October 2021.

Busse is also an environmental advocate who served in many leadership roles for conservation organizations including as an advisor to the U.S. Senate Sportsmen’s Caucus and the Biden Presidential campaign. He remains a proud outdoorsman, gun owner, father, and resident of Montana.

Want to hear more? Check out our podcast page to see all the discussions!

Gen Z podcast

Why Republicans Are Losing Gen Z

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Is Gen Z really overwhelmingly liberal? These two young GOP leaders say it’s not that simple.

Almost 70 percent of Generation Z voted for Democrats in November’s midterm elections. As the years go by, Republicans are getting a smaller and smaller slice of the youth vote.

In our last episode, we looked at why Democrats are failing with rural voters. This time we ask why the GOP does so badly with young ones.

Generation Z is often described as overwhelmingly liberal, driven by strong feelings on abortion, gun violence, and climate change. But our guests on this show – two young Republicans – say it’s not that simple, and that if Republicans engaged in better marketing and outreach, they could win over many of the young electorate.

Joe Mitchell is a former state congressman from Iowa, elected to the Iowa House of Representatives at the age of 21. He is also the president and founder of Run Gen Z, a nonprofit dedicated to recruiting and mentoring the next generation of conservative leaders as they prepare to run for office. Karoline Leavitt ran for Congress in New Hampshire last year, securing the nomination in the state’s 1st Congressional District at the age of 25. Previously she worked in the White House as assistant press secretary to President Donald Trump.

Joe and Karoline say Republicans don’t need to change their conservative message to win over young voters. Rather they argue that the GOP should appeal to Gen Z where they are, particularly on social media, and support the young candidates trying to reach them.

Hear more on this episode of Let’s Find Common Ground.

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Ep 78 – Why Republicans Are Losing Gen Z

Karoline Leavitt

Karoline Leavitt is a Newsmax Contributor and the Founder of KL Communications. In 2022, Karoline made history as the youngest U.S. Congressional Nominee ever, securing the nomination in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District at 25 years old. Prior to running for Congress, Karoline served as Communications Director to House Republican Chairwoman Elise Stefanik, and as White House Assistant Press Secretary to President Donald Trump. Karoline is an alumna of Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Joe Mitchell

The Honorable Joe Mitchell is President and Founder of Run GenZ, a national 501(c)4 non-profit organization dedicated to empowering, recruiting, and mentoring the next generation of young, conservative leaders as they step up to the plate and run for public office. Representative Mitchell’s organization is a one-of-a-kind, peer-to-peer mentorship program for young conservatives who are paired up with sitting GenZ elected officials to serve as a guiding hand as they begin their campaigns.

Mitchell first ran for office at 20 years old and was later sworn in at the age of 21 – making him the youngest state legislator in Iowa’s history. After he began serving in the house, he came to realize the critical need for more young voices in local and state government bodies across the country. These young people bring a fresh perspective and a new outlook on existing issues facing this great nation. Since the realization, Mitchell has recruited and assisted in the election of school board members, city councilors, and state legislators from New Hampshire to California.

In addition to his work with Run GenZ, Mitchell owns and operates his own real estate development company while also serving as Chairman of the Iowa Real Estate Developers Association.

Want to hear more? Check out our podcast page to see all the discussions!

rural voters episode

Why Democrats Fail With Rural Voters

Chloe Maxmin - Episode 77

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How can Democrats stop losing ground in rural America? A progressive who served a conservative district weighs in.

Why do the two main political parties do so poorly with some large groups of voters? In this episode we look at how in recent decades Democrats have been losing rural America by growing margins. Next time we will focus on Republicans and their struggles with Gen-Z voters.

In 1996, Bill Clinton carried nearly half of all rural counties. But in 2020 Joe Biden won majorities in fewer than 7% of these counties.

Our guest, Chloe Maxmin, a progressive Democrat from rural Maine, was the youngest woman ever to serve in Maine’s Senate. She was elected in a conservative district in 2020 after unseating a two-term Republican incumbent in a region that twice voted for Donald Trump by large majorities.

She argues that her party has ignored voters in rural America, and that their road to victory begins with respect, empathy, seeking common ground, and listening carefully to rural voters’ concerns. When on the doorstep, Maxmin argues, candidates and volunteers should “take the time to listen to why somebody believes the things they do and why they think the way they do.”

Hear more on the latest episode of Let’s Find Common Ground.

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Ep 77 – Why Democrats Fail With Rural Voters

Chloe Maxmin

Hailing from rural Maine, Chloe is the youngest woman ever to serve in the Maine State Senate, at 28 years old. She was elected in 2020 after unseating a two-term Republican incumbent and (former) Senate Minority Leader. In 2018, she served in the Maine House of Representatives after becoming the first Democrat to win a rural conservative district. She also received an honors degree from Harvard College, where she co-founded Divest Harvard. Chloe is the recipient of the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes and the Brower Youth Award. She was also named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone. She was named the 2020 Legislator of the Year by the Maine Council on Aging. She is also the Co-Founder/Advisor at JustME for JustUS, a Maine-based organization focus on rural youth civic engagement and climate organizing. She is the Co-Founder, alongside Canyon, of Dirtroad Organizing, a new non-profit dedicated to rural organizing.

Want to hear more? Check out our podcast page to see all the discussions!

Why We Misunderstand Independent Voters

Jackie Salit & John Opdycke

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Is everything we know about independent voters wrong? Two experts share insights on this growing population.

Independent voters make up more than 40 percent of the voting public. But you wouldn’t know that from media coverage, which focuses almost exclusively on red versus blue. Independents are often overlooked or seen as wishy-washy, bending in the wind. Our guests on this episode say that’s a big misconception.

In this show, we look at a group of voters, including many young people, that is making up a growing slice of the US population.

Our guests are Jackie Salit and John Opdycke. Jackie is the author of Independents Rising and president of Independent Voting, an organization dedicated to bringing respect, recognition and reform to independent voters. John Opdycke is president of Open Primaries, which campaigns for primary elections in which every American can vote, not just Republicans or Democrats.

In a wide ranging discussion John and Jackie say that independents are not moderates: They envision a much less divisive political system than the current one, and they want to play a bigger role in American democracy.

Hear more on the latest episode of Let’s Find Common Ground.

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Ep 76 – Why We Misunderstand Independent Voters

Jackie Salit

Jackie Salit is President of Independent Voting, a national strategy, communications, and organizing center that works to connect independent voters across the U.S. and is a 30-year veteran of the independent and reform movements. She also serves as co-director for the Center for an Independent and Sustainable Democracy at Arizona State University.

Salit hosts regular national conference calls with hundreds of activist independents nationwide. Her firsthand account of this growing and influential voting bloc, Independents Rising: Outsider Movements, Third Parties and the Struggle for a Post-Partisan America, was published in 2012 by Palgrave Macmillan.

An architect of independent presidential runs in the 1980’s and 1990’s, Salit played a central role in the 1988 “Two Roads are Better Than One” campaign of Lenora Fulani, the first African American to achieve 50-state ballot access. Salit was a frontline figure in shaping a coalition with Ross Perot and the Perot movement which led to the founding of the Reform Party in 1997.

In 2008, Salit’s network of independent voters galvanized support for Barack Obama in the open Democratic primaries, key to Obama’s primary win over Hillary Clinton and his general election win over John McCain.

John Opdycke

John Opdycke is the President of Open Primaries. He is an activist and strategist with 25 years of experience working in independent, alternative and reform politics. He is one of the country’s most visible and vocal advocates for primary reform.

Opdycke began his career as a fundraiser and researcher for the Rainbow Lobby, which advocated for ballot access and debate reform in the United States and supported the pro-democracy movement in the Congo (Zaire). In 1992, he joined Dr. Lenora Fulani’s independent campaign for president as a regional fundraising director, and in 1994 assisted Dr. Fulani in her campaign against Mario Cuomo in the New York Democratic Party gubernatorial primary. In 1998, he became the director of development of IndependentVoting.org, and between 1999 and 2014 expanded IndependentVoting.org’s fundraising from $50,000 to $1 million annually.

He has appeared on Fox News, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, PBS, and NBC, and his written commentary on independent politics and electoral reform has appeared in USA Today, Newsweek, The Hill, and dozens of local publications.

Want to hear more? Check out our podcast page to see all the discussions!