June 11, 2020
Cambridge, MA

American Promise Amendment Among Top Reforms in Commission’s Call for a More Resilient Democracy

A constitutional amendment to end the dominance of concentrated money in politics is prominent among the key reforms recommended in a report announced today by the Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship convened by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

The commission’s report, Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century, is the product of two years of study, research, and nearly 50 listening sessions with Americans from various demographic and political backgrounds across the nation. The report outlines the crucial reforms needed to improve the resilience of our democracy by 2026, our nation’s 250th anniversary, in six broad strategy areas: 

  • Equality of voice and representation
  • Empowerment of voters
  • Responsiveness of political institutions
  • Connectedness in and among communities 
  • Civic information architecture that supports common purpose
  • A culture of commitment to American constitutional democracy and one another

The recommendation to ratify a constitutional amendment to secure the equal rights and representation of all Americans with limits on election spending—work currently being coordinated by American Promise—is featured as an essential objective. Others include implementation of Ranked Choice Voting, automatic voter registration, new mechanisms for Congress to interact with its constituents, a national trust for civic infrastructure, a public interest mandate for social media platforms, and public and philanthropic initiatives to invest heavily in civic education.

“The Commission report is an urgent alarm and a challenge to us all; American Promise accepts this challenge.” says American Promise President Jeff Clements. “Constitutional amendments are uncommon but in times of crisis and challenge Americans come together to make them happen for the good of the country.”

In its report, the commission concludes that significant change is necessary, but also possible—and positive. The report also shines a light on the organizations, advocates, public officials and civic leaders already working toward a system that fosters a sense of community and a shared commitment to solving problems.

“Time is of the essence: We pledge to get the amendment ratified by July 4, 2026, and our members in all 50 states are hard at work,” says Leah Field, American Promise’s Managing Director. “We invite all Americans to join us.” 

About American Promise: 

American Promise is the nonprofit organization leading a cross-partisan network of citizens across the nation in the work to pass a constitutional amendment to end the domination of concentrated wealth in our political system. American Promise citizen leaders are building grassroots support through community connections, meetings with elected officials, lobbying, organizing and outreach. Already 20 states and more than 800 communities, representing nearly half of all Americans, have formally called on Congress to pass the amendment. Learn more at www.americanpromise.net.

About the American Academy of Arts & Sciences: 

The American Academy of Arts & Sciences was founded in 1780 to help guide a young nation through challenges and emerge stronger. This is one of those times. The commission’s leaders, its members, and the American Academy are moving forward to work vigorously with partners and champions to promote the recommendations in Our Common Purpose and the recognition that change is necessary and possible for America to reinvent its democracy for the 21st century.

Commission members include leaders in academia, civil society, politics, business, and the arts from across the ideological spectrum. Its co-chairs are:

  • Danielle Allen, the James Bryant Conant University Professor and Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. She is also the principal investigator for the Democratic Knowledge Project at Harvard.
  • Stephen Heintz, President of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund since 2001. Among his many past leadership roles is founding president of Demos, a public policy organization working to enhance the vitality of American democracy.
  • Eric Liu, Founder and CEO of Citizen University and Director of the Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program.

To learn more about the people, project, and publications, please visit: www.amacad.org/ourcommonpurpose 

Media contacts: 

Melissa Gough, American Promise, 508 561 2074, melissag@americanpromise.net

Alison Franklin, American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 617-576-5043, AFranklin@amacad.org