Disrupting American Politics

Will our Democracy outlast the two-party system?
6:00 PM 7:30 PM
Virtual
27
Jan

Disrupting American Politics

6:00 PM 7:30 PM
Virtual

America’s two predominant political parties—Democratic and Republican—are billion-dollar economic and political engines with extensive influence on the policies that impact Americans’ daily lives. As the political divides between these parties grow, Americans are increasingly asking, “Do these parties truly represent me?” and “Who is really benefitting from this two-party system?”

On January 27, American Public Square at Jewell hosted a Signature Series program that explored the complexities of bipartisanship. We looked at emerging models of election reform and legislative representation to consider whether any of them stand a chance at changing the political landscape in America.

This event was moderated by:  Ambassador Allan Katz, APS Founder and CEO

Distinguished panelists included:

    • Benjamin Ginsberg, attorney and political law advocate
    • Benjamin Singer, CEO, Show Me Integrity
    • Greg Vonnahme, associate professor and chair, UMKC Department of Political Science

Program Materials

Access APS' new digital Fact Sheet, with an embedded program guide, as well as the program recording below.

Event Panelists

Benjamin Ginsberg is a nationally known political law advocate representing participants in the political process. He is most well-known for his work representing the Republican Party and its political campaigns, candidates, members of Congress, state legislatures and governors, as well as corporations, trade associations, businesses, and individuals participating in the political process. He represented four of the last six Republican presidential nominees.

Ginsberg’s representations have ranged across a variety of election law and regulatory issues, including voting issues and elections, federal and state campaign finance laws, recounts and contests, government investigations, election administration, and redistricting. He served as cochair of the bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration, which produced a much-lauded report on best practices and recommendations for state and local officials to make US elections run better.

His academic background includes being a lecturer in law at Stanford Law School, an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, and a fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics. Currently a CNN contributor, he appears frequently on television as an on-air commentator about politics and the law and has written numerous articles on US politics.

He served as national counsel to the 2000 and 2004 Bush-Cheney presidential campaigns and played a central role in the 2000 Florida recount. In 2012 and 2008, he served as national counsel to the Romney for President campaign. He was a partner at Jones Day from 2014 to 2020 and, before that, at Patton Boggs for 23 years.

Benjamin Singer, the CEO of Show Me Integrity, has worked with Republican, Democratic, and independent reformers since 2012 on local, state, and federal advocacy campaigns to create a more effective, ethical government. He has worked on ethics, campaign finance, redistricting, and electoral reforms with leaders across the political spectrum including Sen. John Danforth, Sen. Rob Schaaf, and an independent effort to help re-elect the late Congressman Walter B. Jones, Jr. His work has been featured in TV, radio, and newspaper outlets across the nation.

In 2021 Show Me Integrity won the American Civic Collaboration Award, which celebrates partnerships that strengthen America, for the organization’s work on a project that brought together an unlikely duo: Republican former Governor Matt Blunt and Democratic former Secretary of State Jason Kander, two military veterans who fought to defend democracy and then came home to administer it as secretaries of state.

In 2016 Benjamin was the National Campaign Director for a bipartisan PAC to elect reformers, co-founded by Republican strategist Mark McKinnon and Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig. Benjamin came back home to Missouri in 2018 to serve as the Communications Director for Clean Missouri, which won a statewide ballot initiative. In 2020 he helped lead the St. Louis Approves campaign, which won with 68%, to make St. Louis City elections nonpartisan, forcing candidates to win a true majority of the vote. This year, Show Me Integrity placed another measure on the 2022 ballot to reform conflicts of interest in St. Louis City government. It is polling at 80%.

Dr. Greg Vonnahme is an associate professor and department chair in the Department of Political Science at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His research and teaching focuses on American government, state politics and policy, civic engagement, voting and elections, and statistical analysis. He has published in the Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Public Choice, American Politics Research, and Election Law Journal. He has given a number of public talks to civic organizations and media interviews about issues related to American government and politics.

Courses

    • American Government
    • Civic Engagement in a Civil Society
    • State Politics and Policy
    • COVID-19 and Election Laws

Academic Credentials

    • Ph.D. Rice University (2008)
    • M.A. Rice University (2004)
    • B.S. University of Iowa (2002)

Event Sponsors

Thank you to our program sponsors!

Irv Hockaday

Arnold Ventures

Sue Seidler Nerman

Ogletree Deakins

Plexpod

The Sherman Family Foundation

The Wiley Foundation

William Jewell College

The William T. Kemper Foundation

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