Authored on April 30, 2020

Contact: Erin Zamoff, FairVote Minnesota Communications Director, erin.zamoff@fairvotemn.org, (952) 334-8313‬

FairVote Minnesota Presents Virtual Conversation Featuring Rep. Dean Phillips and Author Lee Drutman: Political Polarization in this Time of Crisis 

St. Paul (April 30, 2020) --  FairVote Minnesota (“FVMN”) today announced a virtual conversation with award-winning political scientist and author Lee Drutman, whom The Economist calls “one of the keenest observers of America’s pathologies,” and U.S. Congressman Dean Phillips, a leading advocate of Ranked Choice Voting and election reform in Congress. These two national leaders will join FVMN Executive Director Jeanne Massey, Board member Dr. Michael Osterholm, and business leader Marilyn Carlson Nelson to discuss political polarization in this time of crisis and ways we can fix our broken democracy. 

FVMN will launch the webinar on Wednesday, May 6 from 5:30-7:00pm. All who want to join are welcome and can register at fairvotemn.org/rsvp

Phillips and Drutman will discuss the author’s ground-breaking new book, Breaking the Two Party Doomloop, which examines the acceleration of America’s toxic political polarization and proposes a way out of it. Ranked Choice Voting tops his list of reforms. 

“Restoring faith in government begins with improving our electoral system,” Phillips explained. The congressman, who recently introduced The Voter Choice Act to support local and state efforts to implement Ranked Choice Voting, added, “Ranked Choice Voting is simple, empowers voters, and rewards candidates who broaden support beyond their base.” 

Prior to COVID-19, the United States was already facing a crisis of polarization. At all levels, our political system has been growing more partisan and divisive, leaving voters feeling increasingly alienated. “Dissatisfaction with and distrust in our current political system is at its highest levels in the history of modern polling,” writes Drutman, but “the raw material for a major democracy reform movement exists.  . . . The first step is understanding just how dangerous the status quo would be, if left to continue its democracy-destroying doom loop.” 

Unfortunately, the political approach to COVID-19 has devolved into a partisan battle that is undermining an effective response. Indeed, the pandemic has laid bare the dangers of polarization and underscores the urgency of political reform. At a time when Americans are looking to their government and political leaders for reassurance that they are prioritizing cooperation and expertise over political considerations or partisanship, we are, regrettably, seeing the opposite.  

“We are currently facing a two-pronged crisis: the pandemic and a crisis of our democratic system,” explained Executive Director Jeanne Massey. “The good news is that Minnesota has been a leader nationally in advancing Ranked Choice Voting and is well positioned to continue expanding this important reform statewide  -- which will help mitigate the polarization that is plaguing our democracy.”

Phillips, Drutman, Massey, Osterholm, and Carlson Nelson will be joined by co-hosts Wendy Nelson, former MN Congressman Tim Penny, Bill and Penny George, Tom and Libby Horner,  Kelly Doran, Karla Ekdahl and Peter Hutchinson, Sam Boren and Steve King, and Andy and Lana Slavitt, among others.

Media are welcome and should register at www.fairvotemn.org/rsvp/press.  Lee Drutman and Jeanne Massey are available to provide interviews in advance of the program on May 6. Please contact me to schedule a time. 

Learn more about the effort to advance Ranked Choice Voting in Minnesota at FairVoteMN.org