We the UndauntedUnitedChangemakersDoersUniters

Un daunted

United

IN ONE VOICE TO SAVE
AMERICAN DEMOCRACY

What America Will
Our Children Inherit?

That question has been a constant in my life over the last decade. I ask it both as the father of two girls, age 8 and 11, and as the co-founder and CEO of RepresentUs, a movement we launched 10 years ago to lead the fight to save our democracy.

We, the people, will provide the answer to that question — for the actions we take today will directly determine what type of America our children will inhabit as adults.

This report comes at a perilous time for our democracy. I write this letter two years into a deadly pandemic, as a war against democratic ideals rages in Ukraine, and in the wake of the siege on our nation’s capital in 2021.

But if I’ve learned one thing during our first decade of work at RepresentUs, it’s that all of us — regardless of what we believe politically — are united in the quest for a more perfect union. All of us want to live in a country that is free of rampant corruption, dark money, and unethical politicians owned by special interests.

So while this special report serves to acknowledge RepresentUs’ decade of growth and achievements, it is, more importantly, an urgent call to action. By building on what’s been accomplished, we can forge the path a more promising future.

Admittedly, the road ahead is fraught with danger. Our democracy is under attack. The most glaring example emerged in the form of the angry and armed mobbed that stormed our Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

 But the riot of that day is far from the only assault on our democracy. 

Believers of the big lie are scheming to take control of our elections by replacing election workers with hyper-partisan hacks. 

Cynically gerrymandered voting districts offer would-be autocrats a virtually uncontested road to power, leaving whole communities unrepresented in Congress, and solidifying minority-party rule. Politicians are brazenly stripping away your freedom to vote, hellbent on securing their own power. Taken together, these actions are pushing our democracy to the brink. But, together, we can – and will — push back. 

RepresentUs exists to make real, lasting change to preserve and strengthen American democracy. We unite people from across the political spectrum to put country before party. More than 150 wins – across dozens of states — remind us that change is possible. 

Recent progress on multiple fronts from tracking and exposing gerrymandering to helping to pass comprehensive anti-corruption reforms in Alaska demonstrates that hope endures. What America do we want our children inherit? Ask yourself that question. 

And join us in saving our democracy. We’ve only just begun to fight. 

Joshua Graham Lynn CEO and Co-Founder

We stand for

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We the changemakers

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- John Doe

The Making of a movement

from coffee shop conversation to a democracy saving movement

Before RepresentUs existed. 

Before the viral video viewed by millions. 

Before two “badass grandmas” from North Dakota took on the system and won. 

And before our grassroots movement caught fire to pile up more than 150 wins in cities and states across the country. 

Before all of that, Josh Silver and Joshua Lynn Graham would meet for morning coffee at the Cup & Saucer Restaurant in Northfield, Mass. Between sheep-dogging their adventurous toddlers, their conversations inevitably veered to the fragile state of America’s democracy. 

Then one day Silver took it next level, slapping down 13 handwritten-pages – his single spaced, both-sides-of-the-paper analysis and antidote to the threats facing American democracy. 

So, I show Josh the document,” Silver recalls.“ He reads it, and says something like ‘You’ve got something here, but I’m bored. You need to spice it up. If you want people to care about the solution, they need to understand the problem’.” 

Graham, a marketing expert who had built a career out of making consumer-packaged goods sound exciting, offered a fresh take on packaging and pitching Silver’s ideas.

“Great ideas in consumer goods often come with a very complicated narrative,” Graham says. “To get people to change their behaviors and use their products, we had to convince manufacturers to tell a different story, and create, in essence, a movement around those products.” 

 

Together, they turned Silver’s notebook into a roadmap that showed people from across the political spectrum that they had the power to take action to save their country. 

“That’s key to movement building,” Graham said.“ And it became our central founding premise.” 

RepresentUs was born. Silver took lead on crafting the American Anti-Corruption Act — an aspirational framework for reform that remains a blueprint for securing democracy. 

Graham focused on creating edgy – sometimes comical — videos that caught viral fire. Quickly, the movement took shape. 

And RepresentUs scored its first big victory in 2014, where it played a pivotal role in getting voters in Tallahassee, Fla., to pass a ballot initiative for campaign finance reform. 

Tallahassee offered proof of concept: a playbook that would evolve into Campaign Accelerator, RepresentUs’ capable tool for targeting resources and funding to make sudden impact in cities and states nationwide. 

RepresentUs has made huge strides in its first decade. But there is much work to be done. 

Voting rights are under attack across the U.S., politicians routinely twist states into gerrymandered pretzels, and the Jan. 6 insurrection has given us a stark reminder of what’s at stake. 

But RepresentUs will not back down. We’re committed to joining with people across the country – and the political spectrum – to form a more perfect union. 

We, the people, possess the power to restore America to its rightful place as the world’s beacon of democracy. 

Consider the pages that follow a call-to-action that builds on lessons learned and victories earned to blaze a clear path forward to a future we can – must – build together.

Our first win

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We the

Doers

Powered by the people

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Finding their voice

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We the uniters

"Lorem Impsum Dolor LOREM IMPSUM DOLOR LOREM IMPSUM DOLOR"

- John Doe

non-partisan by design

Enlisting “unlikely allies” and “trusted voices” RepresentUs remains an organization committed to country over party

When they launched RepresentUs, Josh Silver and Joshua Lynn Graham saw a center lane in the American democracy movement with zero traffic. “We focused from the start on being nonpartisan,” Silver says. “Up until RepresentUs, that just never happened — it was just progressive groups pushing democracy reforms. We were the first organization, in both rhetoric and action, to bring together all Americans in support of structural changes to democracy. At its core, the most critical thing that this organization has accomplished.” 

For Graham, the across-the-aisle approach seemed only logical, knowing only about one-quarter of Americans identified as liberal or progressive. Further, his real-life experiences didn’t jibe with the conventional wisdom that the partisan divide was unbreachable. 

“I’ve always had a real issue with the idea that if you’re talking to somebody who votes across the aisle you can’t possibly have anything in common,” Graham says. “There isn’t a monopoly on good ideas and there are reasonable people on both sides who often share very common beliefs. The challenge is they lack the common language or shared experience to see the opportunity for collaboration.” 

These early insights have created enduring framework for RepresentUs, that has consistently, and often cleverly, changed the tone and substance of the conversation in ways that resonate beyond political affiliation or ideology. 

The nonpartisan thread is woven through everything RepresentUs does, from videos and messaging that keep the focus on attacking a flawed and corrupt system, to establishing programs that encourage nonpartisan unity, to uniting “unlikely allies” in state and local reform campaigns. 

That’s not to say the nonpartisan path hasn’t hit some turbulence in more recent years. The Jan. 6 insurrection and the persistent Big Lie have, to put it mildly, complicated matters. 

To successfully navigate the current environment in a way the continues to emphasize nonpartisanship starts with acknowledging that those on the fringe – whether it be left or right – are not a target audience, says Jen Johnson, RepresentUs’ Movement Director. 

“The current reality is there are some constituencies that are lost to us,” Johnson says. “If you’re believing the Big Lie, then you likely aren’t interested in what we have to say.” 

But there are a large group of voters – many of them Republicans — who do believe in free and fair elections. It’s essential that those who believe the Big Lie aren’t the only voices associated with the GOP. Our strategy is focused on making sure there are other messengers from the Republican party, and across the political spectrum who don’t believe in authoritarianism.” 

To that end, RepresentUs has been increasingly intentional about engaging a broad range of “trusted voices” and uniting “unlikely allies” behind a common cause. 

The result has been initiatives such the 2020 VoteSafe campaign that set the record straight on safe, secure mail-in voting and accessible in-person voting options. VoteSafe co-chaired by former swing-state governors: Pennsylvania Republican Tom Ridge and Democrat Jennifer Granholm from Michigan. 

The effort is further amplified by a host of retired military officials Meanwhile, the Count Every Hero program enlists veterans and citizens from different political ideologies to defend democracy and fight political corruption. 

RepresentUs is also beginning work working with a new coalition, The Board of Democracy, that brings together business leaders to advocate for democracy reforms. 

“Ultimately, this is a cultural movement, more than a political one,” Graham says. “That’s been huge, and I think that is what draws people to RepresentUs. There’s an abiding understanding across the American that something is broken in our system, and we need to band together to fix it.”

Trusted Voices

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Drawing the line

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When they launched RepresentUs, Josh Silver and Joshua Lynn Graham saw a center lane in the American democracy movement with zero traffic. “We focused from the start on being nonpartisan,” Silver says. “Up until RepresentUs, that just never happened — it was just progressive groups pushing democracy reforms. We were the first organization, in both rhetoric and action, to bring together all Americans in support of structural changes to democracy. At its core, the most critical thing that this organization has accomplished.” For Graham, the across-the-aisle approach seemed only logical, knowing only about one-quarter of Americans identified as liberal or progressive. Further, his real-life experiences didn’t jibe with the conventional wisdom that the partisan divide was unbreachable. “I’ve always had a real issue with the idea that if you’re talking to somebody who votes across the aisle you can’t possibly have anything in common,” Graham says. “There isn’t a monopoly on good ideas and there are reasonable people on both sides who often share very common beliefs. The challenge is they lack the common language or shared experience to see the opportunity for collaboration.” These early insights have created enduring framework for RepresentUs, that has consistently, and often cleverly, changed the tone and substance of the conversation in ways that resonate beyond political affiliation or ideology. The nonpartisan thread is woven through everything RepresentUs does, from videos and messaging that keep the focus on attacking a flawed and corrupt system, to establishing programs that encourage nonpartisan unity, to uniting “unlikely allies” in state and local reform campaigns. That’s not to say the nonpartisan path hasn’t hit some turbulence in more recent years. The Jan. 6 insurrection and the persistent Big Lie have, to put it mildly, complicated matters. To successfully navigate the current environment in a way the continues to emphasize nonpartisanship starts with acknowledging that those on the fringe – whether it be left or right – are not a target audience, says Jen Johnson, RepresentUs’ Movement Director. “The current reality is there are some constituencies that are lost to us,” Johnson says. “If you’re believing the Big Lie, then you likely aren’t interested in what we have to say.” “ But there are a large group of voters – many of them Republicans — who do believe in free and fair elections. It’s essential that those who believe the Big Lie aren’t the only voices associated with the GOP. Our strategy is focused on making sure there are other messengers from the Republican party, and across the political spectrum who don’t believe in authoritarianism.” To that end, RepresentUs has been increasingly intentional about engaging a broad range of “trusted voices” and uniting “unlikely allies” behind a common cause. The result has been initiatives such the 2020 VoteSafe campaign that set the record straight on safe, secure mail-in voting and accessible in-person voting options. VoteSafe co-chaired by former swing-state governors: Pennsylvania Republican Tom Ridge and Democrat Jennifer Granholm from Michigan. The effort is further amplified by a host of retired military officials Meanwhile, the Count Every Hero program enlists veterans and citizens from different political ideologies to defend democracy and fight political corruption. RepresentUs is also beginning work working with a new coalition, The Board of Democracy, that brings together business leaders to advocate for democracy reforms. “Ultimately, this is a cultural movement, more than a political one,” Graham says. “That’s been huge, and I think that is what draws people to RepresentUs. There’s an abiding understanding across the American that something is broken in our system, and we need to band together to fix it.”
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