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Centrist Project Blog

America Deserves Better: My Journey in Political Reform

The Centrist Project's new Executive Director, Nick Troiano, reflects on his decade-long journey to fix politics. You can reach Nick at nick@centristproject.org.

On Election Day in 2006, I stood outside of my polling place in Milford, PA and asked voters to sign a petition that read: 

“To Congress: As We the People vote today, we are asking you to do your part and end the blame-game politics of Washington. Partisan bickering cannot solve the crucial issues we face. America deserves better."

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I wound up collecting over 450 signatures despite the rain that day. Although I wasn’t yet old enough to vote, I felt like I was able to make a difference. Political reform became my calling, and I went to Washington to both study politics and intern for the organization that spearheaded the petition project.  

Statement from The Centrist Project

Statement by Pamela Peak, Executive Director:

“In repudiating the media and political establishments throughout the 2016 election cycle, Americans across the spectrum have sent a very loud message that politics as usual must fundamentally change. 

“While we remain deeply troubled by elements of Donald Trump’s campaign, we congratulate the President-Elect on his victory and wish him well as he prepares to lead the United States of America. We sincerely hope Mr. Trump, together with the new leadership of the U.S. Senate, follows through on his election night commitment to ‘work together and unify our great country.’

Centrist Election Results

We congratulate our endorsed candidates and our ballot measure partners on their excellent work this cycle. Fighting to improve democracy is difficult but important work, and we thank them for their leadership. Together, it’s time to unite and fix a political system that is in tremendous need of repair.

Help Fix Our Democracy: Important Ballot Measures We Support

While the Centrist Project is focused on breaking through political gridlock by electing Centrist independent candidates, we are also supportive of structural reforms that share the same goal. We believe good governance starts with an effective electoral process. This election, we are proud to endorse two ballot measures that advance such reforms…

America's Worst Nightmare Right Now

Business guru Michael Porter and his colleagues at Harvard Business School released their latest annual report on the state of the U.S. economy's health and its ability to created shared prosperity for all Americans. A critical finding: the failing U.S. political system is the number one constraint on our economy. It's an astonishing development that America's political system - in particular, the partisanship preventing anything from getting done to address the real issues at the core of our economy - is the top threat to our country's long-term economic success. Porter called this "America's worst nightmare" right now in a recent interview.

Election 2016: The Senate, Wal-Mart Moms, and Centrists

It's been a whirlwind few weeks. ICYMI: new developments in the 2016 elections and implications for our political future.

Food for Thought: Constitutional Convention 2.0

Reflecting on the party conventions, Centrist founder Charlie Wheelan ponders how a Constitutional Convention in modern times could help our political system. In this US News piece, Wheelan notes that “A new Constitutional Convention may be fantasy, but making the system work better is not. One good way to begin restoring our faith in politics is to improve our political institutions so that they more accurately reflect the broad will of the electorate.” And we thank you – our Centrist Community – for your dedication to the cause. Onward! 

3 Of The Craziest Moments in Political Fiction (That Actually Happened)

In college I took an Art History class in which the Professor asked “Does art imitate life or does life imitate art?” It’s a interesting question to consider because often in life, especially in politics (and especially this year), truth is stranger than fiction. Here are just three examples of times in political fiction when the line between art and life got a little blurry:

 

Why Aren't We Innovating Government?

Many years ago, a graduate student in the public policy program at the University of Chicago asked to meet with me about an idea he was mulling over. The Internet was relatively new, and he reckoned it could be harnessed to bring together communities of civic-minded citizens to improve our public decisions.

His idea was called Policy Tree. I told him I did not think it would work. In particular, if I recall correctly, I was skeptical that the political process would respond to communities of wonks sharing good ideas online.

The student was Andrew Mason. He abandoned Policy Tree and founded a company called Groupon that would eventually go public and earn him hundreds of millions of dollars.