As America moves further into its third century, the hyper-partisan political landscape that has come to dominate U.S. politics detracts from progress on critical issues. It also serves as a longer-term danger: The party squabbling serves as a discouraging barrier for many young people reaching legal voting age.
In response, Americans across the country and across the political spectrum are bringing new energy to collaborations working to renew democracy and empower. One of these leaders looking to forge a new era of civic renewal and national purpose is Layla Zaidane, President & CEO of the Millennial Action Project. Layla was among the speakers during the National Citizen Leadership Conference session earlier this year on America 2026: The Reforms That Will Renew America & Secure Government of the People for the 21st Century.
At the Millennial Action Project, Layla says she and others work to train a generation of young elected officials to build a more functional democracy. “We do that by helping them become bridge builders, helping train them on coalition-building, and ultimately helping them pass bipartisan legislation on a variety of issues, including democracy itself,” she says.
By uniting people along generational lines instead of partisan lines, the Millennial Action Project works to unlock a different framework of approaching problems and shaping solutions, she says, adding that the fastest-growing political affiliation now is independent.
“People are just not finding themselves satisfied with the binary of the Democratic ideology and the Republican ideology. We’re a lot more a la carte when it comes to issues and solving problems,” she says.
Younger voters especially are more inclined to prefer curated choices rather than package deals, she says, likening it to the difference between streaming services like Netflix or Hulu rather than cable packages.
“Our approach to issues and to problem-solving is pretty similar,” she says. “That represents a pretty powerful opportunity to think about how we bring people together and how we start to tackle things one by one instead of feeling like we have to check every box down a list.”
Watch Layla and others in the NCLC session “America 2026: The Reforms That Will Renew America & Secure Government of the People for the 21st Century”