Open Debates - long cropped

We strongly believe that we need a better system for political debates. The questions are often "gotcha" questions, and don't address the most important issues impacting regular people's lives. The Open Debates platform is a crowd-sourced political debate platform that ensures candidates are asked the questions people actually care about. We're consulting with members of the Commission on Presidential Debates, Annenberg Public Policy Center, prominent political consultants, and more to build the most robust and productive platform for citizen ownership of debates. Find out more about the history of the Open Debate Coalition and the debates we've run at

Big Ideas

The Big Ideas Project is a crowd-sourced platform allowing anyone to submit a "big idea," and vote their favorite ideas to the top. We're using the project to show the public appetite for policy that is bigger, bolder and more visionary than our current politics reflects. Over 2,600 ideas were submitted and one million votes were cast. We sourced smart ideas from regular people and experts alike, including ideas on Wall Street reform, guaranteed basic income, and cheaper education. Experts from the AFL-CIO, Demos, the Roosevelt Institute, and Economic Policy Research submitted ideas, as did academics and former and current members of Congress, like Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Senator Ted Kaufman (D-DE) and Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL).

After the voting period closed, the Progressive Change institute commissioned a poll which showed the enormous, bipartisan support for big ideas -- from Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike.

As a direct result of the big ideas project, there are now active conversations in Congress about how to create major pushes around debt-free college, public option banking, and major infrastructure investment in green jobs, among other initiatives.

Banxodus - long

The phenomenon of "too big to fail" banks remains a real problem for our economy and our democracy. As the government has repeatedly failed to act to break up the big banks, we need a different, grassroots approach. One approach is to "defund" the big banks, through divestment campaigns -- and by organizing millions of customers to move their money to smaller banks. 

Banxodus is a platform that allows anyone to help research community banks and post the data about those banks for the general public to use. In turn, the public can search in their areas for great community banks and credit unions, and learn more about the process of moving their money. So far, over 160,000 people have used Banxodus to search for a new bank in their area, and over 6,000 have crowd sourced the research into community banks and credit unions.

The Commons - long

The Commons is a virtual think tank to connect academics and policymakers, and engage in real-time rapid response on the issues that matter most to us. We use state-of-the-art technology to enable a community of 10,000 progressive scholars to connect their expertise with House and Senate staffers and other policymakers. Together, we crowd source progressive policy needs, allowing those who make the laws connect with those who know the issues.

Senator Elizabeth Warren on why The Commons matters, August 2013: "The idea of reaching out and finding academics…and giving them opportunities to participate is enormously valuable. It's a great approach to use."