Last week, Donald Trump officially announced his reelection campaign. He made the announcement with all the same rage, fear, and scapegoating he did in 2016. He’s hoping the same playbook will work again, including the Russian interference. But we can’t let that happen. Congress must hold him accountable. That’s why all this week, we’re running our new ad calling for an impeachment inquiry on the president’s favorite entertainment: Fox News. Watch it for yourself: In 2016, Moscow attacked the heart of our democracy to throw our elections. Since then, President Trump and his allies have worked tirelessly to cover up that fact. Even after Robert Mueller’s 2-year investigation exposed countless efforts to work with Kremlin agents and obstruct the investigation, Trump is still trying to stonewall Congress and bury the truth. The president is knowingly upending the rule of law when he vows to obstruct Congress’ constitutional authority. And yet only one member of his own party has actually called for impeachment. Tonight’s ad will show them that we are paying attention, we do value our Constitution, and we are working to protect our democracy for generations to come. But they aren’t the only ones that need to hear that message. Democrats also need to know that we expect them to act. Nancy Pelosi and others are scared of how it will look politically. But we can’t let the election get in the way of defending our democracy. We can’t wait, and failing to hold Trump accountable could give him a huge advantage in 2020. We need to get this ad in front of even more people, just $5, $10, or $25 could help us reach even more people, and ramp up the pressure on Congress. We know that an impeachment inquiry is a very serious matter. It isn’t something we call for lightly. It’s the result of years of investigation and mountains of proof of corruption and obstruction. That evidence points to just one conclusion: an impeachment inquiry is necessary to defend our nation. This is not about politics, our democracy is at stake. We know that the Kremlin will interfere in 2020 – and in a much bigger way than they did in 2016 – if we don’t close the loopholes they’re exploiting. But we cannot work with a White House so intent on being obstructive. Conservatives, liberals and independents alike must hold the president accountable now or risk our ability to do so ever. Help us put the pressure on, to ensure Congress acts now.
Yesterday was an important reminder that any progress we make to improve our elections has to be rigorously defended. In this case, racially drawn districts in Virginia had been ruled unconstitutional by a lower court. And yet, the VA House of Delegates, the one branch of government controlled by the GOP, sued to try to keep their partisan, biased district lines. This time, the Supreme Court decided that the House of Delegates couldn’t challenge the court’s ruling on their own, and deferred to lower court ruling and the state of Virginia’s acceptance of that ruling. It’s far from a silver bullet in the fight against racial or partisan gerrymandering, but it is a victory. Crucially, it means that Virginia voters will have freer, fairer elections in their upcoming votes. Now we need to make sure citizens in every state can have the confidence that their representation is determined by their votes, and not by partisan manipulation. That’s why Stand Up Republic is committed to ending gerrymandering through independent commissions, either bipartisan or nonpartisan, to draw district lines. This common-sense proposal would ensure that districts are drawn impartially, enhancing competition and representation of all voters in the district. The Supreme Court’s decision yesterday will, at the very least, help protect redistricting efforts by raising the bar for lawsuits designed to turn back the clock on election reform. But the fight is far from over. There’s much more work to be done to improve our democracy and enhance the power of all citizens to hold their government accountable. Will you join us in the fight for electoral reform?
Great news out of New York City! Thanks to the efforts of electoral reform advocates in New York, ranked choice voting (RCV) will be on the ballot in the city this November. Now, the power is in the hands of the people as New York voters will get the opportunity to decide whether they want to use RCV in their elections. The fight isn’t over though. If we want RCV to succeed, we need to educate and motivate voters there and across the country. Help us improve America’s elections through RCV and other crucial reforms. What is ranked-choice voting and why is it better than our current system? RCV is already in use in several American cities and across the state of Maine. With RCV, voters rank their favorite candidates in order of preference. If no one gets more than 50% of the “number 1” votes outright, the lowest candidates are dropped, and their votes are reallocated to the “number 2” choices. That continues until one candidate has more than 50% of the vote and is declared the winner. This type of voting is also known as instant runoff. Why does RCV matter? Perhaps most importantly, RCV incentivizes unifying and inclusive campaigns. Candidates know that it isn’t enough to just win the support of their base. Instead, they need to make sure they have the support of other voters who might rank them second or even third. That means successful candidates will work to earn the support of broader groups of Americans, encouraging more unifying, fact-based leadership in our politics. In these times of division and animosity, that’s a change we badly need. It also empowers us as voters to more fully express our preferences. Too often people feel pressured to vote not for the best candidate, but for the lesser of two evils. RCV makes it possible to vote your conscience and still have a say, even if your favorite candidate might not win. We talk a lot about what threatens American democracy, but we must also focus on strengthening our democracy. One of the best ways to better our republic is by reforming our electoral systems with measures like ranked choice voting. By putting RCV on the ballot in New York City, we have an opportunity to showcase this innovation in some of the most visible elections in the country. But if we want this important reform to catch on across the country, we have to keep fighting for it.
Over the past two years Trump has hosted Viktor Orban from Hungary, Recep Tayyip Erdogan from Turkey, and Jair Bolsonaro from Brazil, at the White House. He’s invited Xi Jinping, Rodrigo Duterte, and Vladimir Putin to come as well. And, of course, he routinely tells the world that he loves the murderous, vile Kim Jong Un. These are men who jail journalists, endorse political violence, and blatantly use their influence and power to harm their citizens. Something else they have in common? They are all counted as friends of this American president. He sees them as strong leaders, in total control, whose people “stand up at attention” when they speak. Trump wants that for himself, he emulates these dictators and sees their axis of evil as an exclusive club that he so desperately wants to be a part of. America must not be dragged into the coalition of despotism. Even when Trump isn’t openly admiring these dictators, he empowers them through his silence. He refuses to condemn their abuses, he refuses to stand up for their victims, and refuses to push them, even privately, to respect human life and liberty. When the Saudi Arabian government killed dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at their consulate in Istanbul, Trump refused to condemn them for fear of ruining an oil deal with the Saudi crown prince. He has never commented on President Xi’s detainment of millions of Muslims in concentration camps. But he has praised Xi for removing term limits to become “president for life.” He even suggested we try that here in America. We often shrug off the idea that Trump is an authoritarian because he hasn’t jailed his political enemies or murdered his critics. But that ignores the many ways he emulates these dictators here at home. No, he doesn’t have their power, he can’t match their abuses. That’s because America’s constitution and institutions still restrain presidents from their worst ambitions. But that safety net is struggling under the weight of his daily attacks. Make no mistake, Trump is jealous of these dictators he admires, and that’s an overt threat to our democracy and Stand Up Republic will always defend our nation against authoritarianism.
Almost 75 years ago, American soldiers, joined by allies from across the globe, stormed the beaches of Normandy in a push to defeat the spread of tyranny and genocide. Soldiers of different races, religions, and creeds fought together against a common enemy, and came out victorious. Where our enemies were united under a banner of hate and bigotry, America and her allies were unified by a common belief in human liberty. The fires of a toxic, hateful, authoritarian regime had caught and begun to spread across Europe. It threatened to cast the dark shadow of oppression across the world. America and the allied powers responded, many sacrificing all to ensure that those who came after would still know a world where democracy and the rule of law prevailed, where essential freedoms and human rights are preserved, and where bigotry and hatred are banished to the extreme fringes of society. The bloody battles for Normandy Beach claimed the lives of countless heroes. But their sacrifice enabled the torch of freedom to be passed on to new generations of Americans, trusting that what they fought for would be valued, protected, and preserved. Sadly, hateful and bigoted ideologies are again on the rise in the world, and the democracy they fought hard to preserve is under assault. General Eisenhower told his troops that day, “The eyes of the world are upon you.” Today, those eyes look to us. We may not have to storm a beachhead. But we do have to stand up once more – in our community, our country, and across the globe – for liberty, equality and truth. America must forever stand as a beacon of hope against tyrants and oppressors; an inheritance from our rich Constitutional founding and tradition. As Americans have done time and time again, whether fighting on the beaches of France or within domestic political institutions, we will fulfill the solemn commission to keep the torch lit. On this 75th anniversary of D-Day, remember the fight goes on. Let’s redouble our efforts to protect the institutions that keep us free.
My name is Jack Merritt, Stand Up Republic’s newest intern for the summer of 2019! I first became familiar with Evan McMullin and Mindy Finn through their 2016 presidential campaign, and I’ve been following them and Stand Up Republic ever since. I was troubled and sad at what I was seeing from Donald Trump throughout the campaign, and this, of course, is only reinforced by what I see almost daily in his presidency. He cozies up to dictators and strongmen, gives a wink and nod to white supremacism, carelessly throws around terms like “treason” and “coup”, refuses to fully divest from his businesses, makes a mockery of our intelligence agencies, and incites anger at the so-called “fake news” wherever he goes, all while enjoying an unhealthy amount of executive time throughout the day. Stand Up Republic struck me as an organization working to do some real good in this country amongst an upheaval of unethical and immoral behavior from the leader of the free world. In this hyperpartisan environment that we find ourselves in, some things should be common sense causes that all Americans can get behind. Stand Up Republic works for such causes. Standing up for the independence of institutions, supporting a free and healthy press, working for accountable government, pushing electoral reforms, and fighting for an inclusive America are all great causes worth standing up for. With so much to do to counteract the behaviors emanating from the executive branch, how can any one of us sit on the sidelines? I wanted to be an intern at SUR this summer in order to help bring about change in this country. I’ll do all I can to make a difference, and I welcome the work ahead.
After two years, Americans finally have the chance to read the results of Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation for themselves. Mueller’s report details a “sweeping and systemic” attack on our elections by the Russian government, the Trump campaign’s tacit involvement, and the president’s efforts to obstruct justice. After seeing the evidence, hearing from Robert Mueller himself, and witnessing Trump’s almost daily attempts to cover up the truth and obstruct Congress’ investigations, Stand Up Republic is calling on Congress to launch an impeachment inquiry into the President of the United States. This is not a decision made lightly, nor is this about politics. It’s about the pattern of constitutional abuse and obstruction on display in this White House; it’s about protecting our democracy. Stand Up Republic has long cautioned patience in favor of impeachment, waiting for the results of the Special Counsel’s investigation and other reporting to establish the facts. Now, looking at the situation objectively, reviewing the evidence, listening to Mueller and watching the president defy Congressional oversight, the choice is clear: Congress must initiate an impeachment inquiry. Will you add your name to our petition calling on Congress to launch an impeachment inquiry to protect the future of our democracy? Too many in Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, are letting partisan politics get in the way of doing the right thing. They think that it will impact their next election, that Americans may vote against them for doing their job. But, this is about much more than politics. If Congress doesn’t take action, how will we ever reign in a president who abuses his power and works with a foreign adversary to get elected? Whether Congress ever votes to impeach or not, an inquiry gives them greater access to the truth, while proving to the president and others that such behavior will not be blindly tolerated. Congress needs to know that the people support an impeachment inquiry, so that we can get to the bottom of this once and for all, protecting our nation against corruption and foreign influence for generations to come. Will you stand up for our democracy?
Why do we talk so much about principles and values? Because without them, our country is adrift, with no clear direction and no greater purpose. But also because principle is the natural enemy of the corrupt. Just look at the reaction to Republican Congressman Justin Amash’s weekend statement that the President has committed impeachable offenses, and that our democracy demands we hold our leaders accountable to the law and Constitution. It was a bold statement, one that party leadership decried as a betrayal, and which inspired a rage filled twitter tirade from the president. He even got a primary opponent because of it. Principled stands always inspire anger, because they strike fear in the hearts of the corrupt and unprincipled. That’s why it’s our duty to stand up in defense of principles. Congressman Amash is the first in his party to confront and acknowledge the truth about the president’s corrupt behavior both on the campaign and in the Oval Office. If we don’t keep up the pressure, he could be the last. The President is fighting hard to keep Congress and the American people from learning the whole truth. And many of his enablers in Congress are too scared to speak up. They will only take a stand if we prove to them that principles mean more to the American people than parties. That’s why I’m asking you to do three things today to demand Congress stand up for American values and the Constitution. 1: Send your representatives an email, telling them that you expect them to put their party aside to defend Congress’ independent powers. 2: If you use social media, help share Congressman Amash’s statement. 3. Help Stand Up Republic build a stronger, broader coalition of Americans who put principle over party. Congress has been giving away its power and responsibilities for years, and we’re paying the price for it now. But in America, the people have the power to steer their government. So real change begins here, with us. Will you stand up with us?
Congress just introduced the Honest Ads Act, a bipartisan bill to prevent foreign election interference and bring more transparency to online political advertisements. This bill is a powerful preliminary move to protect our American democracy from foreign interference and money. Right now, the FCC regulations and guidelines that apply to political television and radio advertisements do not apply to ads on the internet. The Honest Ads Act calls for transparency for online and social media ads similar to those regulations already imposed by the FCC. This is a crucial first step in addressing key problems with political advertisements online. As we saw in the 2016 elections, social media played a critical role in driving narratives and influencing public perception of the candidates. Had the Honest Ads Act already been enacted in 2016, the Kremlin wouldn’t have been able to disguise their targeted political ads as grassroots dissent. This, by no means is an all-encompassing solution, it does not address the negative social media posts that were integral in the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign, but it is one way we can address the disinformation attacks that were carried out in 2016. This much-needed reform addresses key online ad loopholes that have allowed bad actors to sow discord in our country through social media. The Honest Ads Act holds major platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google accountable for collecting and publishing information about ad purchasers. It requires that anyone spending over $500 on ad space makes the ad public and discloses sponsors. Unlike most new regulation efforts, many technology companies have expressed their support for reforms like the Honest Ads Act. 115 current and former public officials signed a bipartisan letter encouraging Congress to pass the Honest Ads Act for the sake of free and fair elections. As the Honest Ads Act is debated in Congress and the 2020 election rapidly approaches, we must keep pushing our representatives to protect our democratic institutions and secure our elections. The Honest Ads Acts was introduced in the Senate (S.1356) by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Mark Warner (D-VA) and in the House (H.R. 2592) by Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA-06) with 13 original Republican cosponsors. This is an essential issue that already has widespread bipartisan support. Let’s keep that momentum going by: 1. Calling your representative. Urge them to support the Honest Ads Act and protect our elections from foreign interference. 2. Reading the Honest Ads Act. The better you know what the bill actually says, the better you can defend it. Read the House and Senate bills for yourself. 3. Joining your local SUR chapter. Our state chapters regularly schedule visits with representatives at their state offices. Join the team to fight for the Honest Ads Act face-to-face.
Americans are tired. Tired of the tweets, tired of the scandals, tired of watching our Constitution be ignored and the rule of law dragged through the mud. Most of all, they are tired of talking about any of it. It seems, especially in a never-ending, 24-hour news cycle that America is spiraling downward, digging a hole out of which it would be seemingly impossible to ever climb. There is no denying that we face serious challenges, but through adversity comes strength; no one knows that better than those who came before us. Throughout our history America has confronted challenges to our liberty and democracy: slavery, disenfranchisement, wars against murderous tyrants…the list goes on. Every time we have faced these challenges head-on, we have emerged stronger for the fight. We can do so again now, if we recommit ourselves to the American cause. We cannot become complacent, we cannot become fatigued. There are still those who want to divide and weaken us, both here at home and in hostile foreign governments. We are stronger than those forces, so long as we do not allow them to divide us, but rather, confront them together, more unified than ever before. The United States of America has always faced the longest odds and we have always been up to the task. It’s time for us to stand up again, putting partisan differences aside in order to leave our democracy stronger than we found it. We will only succeed if we stand up together.