Reclaim November Ohio Process Evaluation

Last year, Jefferson Action undertook a ground-breaking electoral process to bring debate and substance back into modern elections. As part of that process, we commissioned a report by Tina Nabatchi of Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Public Policy. Read the Full Report »

Thinking in New Ways: UNCG 2013

Yesterday the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at Pepperdine University and the University Network for Collaborative Government held their annual conference to examine the work being done to assist citizens and leaders to engage in dialogue, discussion, problem solving, and conflict resolution around public issues. This year’s conference, “Thinking in … Read more +

What is the ‘Fiscal Cliff?’

It’s a term us news junkies hear twelve times on the radio before we even make it into the office. “The markets are down over fiscal cliff negotiations”; “Time is running out to solve the fiscal cliff”; “What does the fiscal cliff mean for black friday shoppers?” But what is the fiscal … Read more +

The Election’s Over. Now What?

The 2012 election is finally over. The country can clean up the lawn signs  and stop hiding in the basement when there is a canvassing team in the neighborhood.  Erectile Dysfunction ads can reclaim their place as the most annoying commercials on TV. After spending billions of dollars, what did … Read more +

How Can I Participate? (part 2)

VOTE. Americans have died abroad to defend our democracy, and have been jailed, attacked or killed here to expand the vote to citizens who didn’t originally have it.  Please take a few minutes to get informed on the issues and the candidates, and vote on Tuesday, November 6. BTW:  “How Can … Read more +

The Joke’s On Us

If you haven’t taken our Outrageous Campaign Ads quiz, check it out.  Can you tell the parodies from the real ads?  Here’s a hint: truth is more outrageous than fiction.  Try as we might, we just couldn’t make up ads as ridiculous as the real things. Some of the candidates … Read more +

Where Does Your Funding Come From?

Sometimes it’s curiosity, sometimes it’s cynicism – people often ask who would be willing to pay for a process that is truly fair and non-partisan, that isn’t seeking to guarantee a certain outcome for one side or another. Meet Ned Crosby, who founded Jefferson Action (previously known as Promoting Healthy … Read more +

Norman Ornstein speaking to the SPACC

“Like geese being force fed for foie gras”

Norman Ornstein, the acclaimed scholar/observer of Congress, spoke today at the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce.  The title of his new book on Congress says it all:  “It’s Even Worse than It Looks.” In his speech, he argued that our political system has gone beyond partisanship — which has … Read more +

Hooray for binders!

In honor of the most-repeated phrase of the Romney-Obama debate, our facebook page today features photos of the lengthy and detailed notes that our participants used to question and evaluate the positions of Reps. Renacci and Sutton during the Citizens Election Forum. Here’s to binders — we couldn’t Reclaim November … Read more +

Searching for Substance

As we near the final weeks of the 2012 elections, it remains tough to find substance needed to make informed choices about candidates. Why do we feel so full of information, but so under-nourished? A recent New York Times article noted that the candidates in our Citizens Election Forum (Reps Jim Renacci … Read more +

What are the candidates talking about?

If you live in a swing state, you’re getting overwhelmed with ads and information — from the candidates and outside groups. Kyle Bozentko, Jefferson Action’s Director of Policy and Research, prepared a glimpse into the race between Ohio District 16 candidates Jim Renacci and Betty Sutton. CEF3 Glimpse of Campaigns … Read more +

How to watch the candidates

The first debate between President Obama and Governor Romney takes place this week and we know what the media will watch for: missteps, like Gerald Ford’s “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe” statement in 1976. KO punches, like Lloyd Bentsen’s “you’re no Jack Kennedy” slam in 1988. body … Read more +

4 Days Summed Up in 85 Seconds

If you wonder what participants in a Citizens Election Forum learn while getting information on economic issues for four full days, here’s a great video clip for you to check out, featuring Dr. Hirschel Kasper of Oberlin College: [youtube][/youtube] If you had a chance to talk to politicians about this, … Read more +

Right All the Time

“I was surprised because I figured I was right all the time.” So joked Bobbie, a participant in the July session of Reclaim November Ohio. She was using a humorous remark to make a serious and often-overlooked point about democracy. In a democracy, one person has many opportunities to express … Read more +

Preview: Citizens Election Forum 2

Its been 55 days since our the last Citizens Election Forum. Back then the election seemed far away.  Our focus was figuring out what we wanted the politicians to talk about. A recap of that event can be found here. Now we’re pushing forward and about to begin an even … Read more +

Watch the Action

The full archives from the July Citizen Election Forum is available here. We spent a lot of time and effort making these archives available. As the Citizen Election Forum tries to change campaigns from mud slinging to substantive debates on issues, it is important that the general public can observe … Read more +

Even Thomas Jefferson needed Jefferson Action

Dick Polman of the Philadelphia Inquirer is the latest to remind us not to get nostalgic about the civility of elections.  In seeking to unseat John Adams in 1800, Thomas Jefferson and his supporters slung a lot of mud — and had a lot of mud slung at them by … Read more +

How Can I Participate? (part 1)

The people chosen to participate in a Citizens Jury or Citizens Election Forum often describe the experience in glowing terms: a “brain-stretching, eye-opening, educational experience.” “The key to democracy.” “a great honor.” So it’s not a surprise that many others ask “How can I be part of this?” The method … Read more +

“Who’s the Real Liar?”

By Executive Director Jim Meffert The beginning of the national political conventions, or prime time shows, continues to make me wonder why anyone believes anything that comes out of a politician’s mouth. This week in Tampa we hear how anything that gets in my way is un-American. Next week in … Read more +

An Antidote to “All Gaffe, All the Time”

The 2012 campaign is the story of one gaffe-inspired firestorm after another: • “I like to fire people.” • “You didn’t build that.” • “They want to put you back in chains.” • “Legitimate rape.” In the right context, a single statement or mis-statement can spark a rich discussion of … Read more +

Is It Possible to Change The Discussion?

It’s easy to feel like nothing can be done. In the age of partisan gridlock, attack ads and a Congress that seemingly gets nothing done, it’s easy to throw up your hands, and declare it’s the other guy’s fault. Then, it’s easy to go back to ignoring politics or only … Read more +

Reclaim November Ohio participants

A Call to Voters as well as to Candidates

How extraordinary were the citizen participants who took place in the first weekend of Reclaim November Ohio? In addition to crafting strong justifications of the three economic issues they chose, they also drafted a clear set of expectations for Representatives Renacci and Sutton. In their five-point statement to the candidates, … Read more +

Too “pie-in-the-sky”?

Recently the Canton Repository asked their readers to weigh in on our Reclaim November Ohio! project.  Even as they voiced support, they asked readers if our ideas are “too pie-in-the-sky?” Here is a link to the original story, and here’s where you can post your thoughts. At Jefferson Action, we’re always … Read more +

Fascinating Poll Results in District 16

We’re sharing the results of a “mood-of-the-district” poll we did in District 16. You can view the results for yourself, but we thought there were a few interesting points worth highlighting. First, the economy is far and away the most important issue in the minds of voters. When we gave people … Read more +

It’s a strange time in American politics

It’s a strange time in American politics. We’re doing things backward. Instead of promoting healthy debate and engaging citizens in the important issues we face, campaigns are doing nothing but relentlessly attacking and tearing down their opponents. Filling the airwaves and the Internet with attack ads, they only create more … Read more +