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Governance and the Rule of Law

Liberal democracy has proven to be a resilient form of government, sustainable primarily due to citizens’ faith in their institutions. Preservation of those institutions is necessary for the republic to endure. SUR is committed to strengthening the rule of law and the nonpartisan nature of neutral government institutions, reinforcing the norms around democratic processes, and confronting corruption at every level of government.

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SUR priorities in this area include:

  • Protecting the independence of Special Counsel investigations.
  • Preventing political parties from weaponizing institutions against dissent.
  • Pursuing transparency and accountability in the government.
  • Ensuring our laws are applied to all Americans equally.
  • Combating corruption from the White House down to the state houses.

Media

The media landscape is changing. With more competition for customer attention, and lower barriers to entry, the news market has become saturated with sensationalist outlets catering to the ideological fringes of our society. Social media has affected the way we communicate with one another and share information, often dividing us into partisan political tribes. Our society finds it more difficult to agree on objective truth, a fundamental threat to functional democratic governance. SUR wants to ensure the future of media is conducive to an open society, and that its role is strengthened and preserved.

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SUR priorities in this area include:

  • Promoting responsible policies with social media platforms, including the labeling of political advertisements.
  • Educating social media users on techniques to identify, research, and rebut disinformation.
  • Defending the rights of a free and independent press, especially from political attacks.
  • Encouraging best practices for journalism that build trust and reliability in the media.

Inclusive America

The last fifty years have seen many hitherto marginalized communities within American society increasingly recognized, such as women, people of color, sexual minorities, and other communities. This process of inclusion, however incomplete, has changed America’s understanding of itself, and generated significant cultural anxiety and discord. Yet, there is no reason why a nation founded primarily on ideas cannot be a model of diversity and pluralism. Indeed, the gradual inclusion of all in the American story is ultimately a fulfillment of the promises of our foundational principle of equality. SUR supports initiatives aimed at managing these fundamental societal changes while still maintaining a free and open society. Our goal should be a functional democratic government that works for all citizens, adhering to our basic principles of liberty and equality for all.

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SUR priorities in this area include:

  • Standing up for the rights of all Americans.
  • Ensuring our laws and institutions are built to help all Americans equally.
  • Advancing criminal justice reform to create a legal system that is smarter, fairer, and more equitable.
  • Pursuing immigration policies that recognize the importance of immigrants to America’s success as well as the need for security.
  • Opposing isolationism and xenophobia to build an America which engages the world in defense of liberty and democracy.

Foreign Interference

As Hamilton predicted in Federalist 68, one of the major threats to American democracy comes from hostile foreign powers, who might seek to “gain an improper ascendant in our councils.” Not only might they attempt to compromise our leaders and influence policy directly, they will likely continue to use disinformation to destabilize our political system from the ground up. A free and open society, particularly in the modern era, is more susceptible to foreign interference and influence than authoritarian systems, in which information and communication are more tightly controlled. Part of SUR’s mission is to prevent the subversion of the democratic process by foreign authoritarians while still retaining the values and principles that set us apart from them.

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SUR priorities in this area include:

  • Educate Americans on disinformation tactics to help combat its spread.
  • Enforce sanctions against the Russian government for their attacks on our elections to deter future attempts by the Kremlin or other governments.
  • Protecting investigations into foreign interference against America, to ensure we know the full extent of the attacks and to inform strategies to protect against future assaults.
  • Ensuring that any and all persons involved in such attacks are fully investigated and held to account for their actions.
  • Pushing for Congress to take its role of oversight seriously, and investigate.

Future of Work

The American and global economies are in the midst of a radical transformation. Automation and artificial intelligence have the potential to dramatically reshape the nature of work and the future of labor. This transformation will have profound impacts on our society, changing the distribution of economic resources and status. It will also change how we define ourselves with respect to our work. SUR is dedicated to developing economic and social strategies to ensure that all Americans adjust to this new economic reality while maintaining our democracy through a period of rapid change.

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SUR priorities in this area include:

  • Creating programs to build a workforce that is well-trained and equipped for future innovations and industries.
  • Rejecting calls to sacrifice technological developments in order to prop up legacy industries.
  • Improving educational systems across the country to better prepare students for future work requirements.
  • Establishing systems to help workers displaced by technology while transitioning them to new opportunities.