In honor of the 2022 International Day of Democracy, Thursday, September 15, Team Democracy and the Partnership for American Democracy and its More Perfect Campaign are challenging candidates for public office to pledge themselves to the peaceful transfer of power, and to accept election results once any claims of irregularities are adjudicated in the courts. Americans are also encouraged to sign the nonpartisan Safe and Fair Elections Pledge, and urge their public officials to sign it too.
“For nearly two and half centuries, Americans have honored the tradition of accepting election results and seeing candidates commit to the peaceful transfer of power,” said John Bridgeland, Executive Chairman of More Perfect and former Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council under President George W. Bush. “In today's polarized climate, all of us need to recommit to democratic norms and the rule of law.”
The effort is being launched on the International Day of Democracy, which provides an annual opportunity to assess the state of democracy around the world. Evidence from Freedom House indicates that democracies are fragile and that less than one-fifth of the world’s population lives in free societies. The evidence also shows that authoritarian acts have grown bolder in recent years. Amid a 16-year decline in global freedom, democracy in the United States has suffered a serious erosion, with the US score falling by 11 percentage points on a 100-point scale from 2010 to 2020.
Two-thirds of Americans believe democracy is under threat. “America has the longest continuous democracy in the world, but recent threats show that we can no longer take our system for granted,” said Co-Founder and CEO of Team Democracy, Ken Powley. “For Americans who want to preserve our democratic system, the Elections Pledge gives them a concrete way to engage, while also holding candidates for public office accountable for honoring the rule of law."
The Elections Pledge enables voters to (1) sign the Pledge, and then (2) use the links provided by Team Democracy to connect to the candidates and elected officials in their states, to urge them to make the same commitment to democracy. Team Democracy and the Partnership for American Democracy will be tracking and reporting on progress in getting candidates to embrace safe and fair elections and the peaceful transfer of power.
To date, citizens from all fifty states and in nearly 20% of races for US House and Senate - Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and Independents from coast to coast - have already made this public commitment to a healthier and more resilient democracy, by endorsing the SAFE Pledge.
“We harbor unprecedented concern for our country and for our democracy,” said retired four-star Army General Stanley McChrystal. “We ask all Americans to come together on an important piece of common ground – a safe place where regardless of political persuasion, we can agree to embrace the most fundamental cornerstones of our democracy by committing ourselves to elections that are both secure and accessible; and assuring the peaceful transition of power according to the rule of law.”