How the House’s Election Reform Bill Would Exacerbate Our Polarization

Americans are arguably as politically engaged as they have been in over a century. That’s encouraging news if our politics represents something substantial: Competing ideas, policies, and visions of the future.

But what if our political debates weren’t substantive—plenty of clashing, but no clash of ideas? 

If you liked the bitter polarization of the 2020 election, you’ll love the idea of subjecting not just election ads, but any ads about policies and ideas to speech restrictions and personal disclosure mandates in the misnamed For the People Act (H.R. 1).

While most coverage has focused on H.R. 1’s election-related provisions about publicly funded campaigns, early voting, and redistricting, almost a third of its nearly 800 pages targets speech rights. Concerns over these First Amendment restrictions are why groups as diverse as Americans for Tax Reform and the American Civil Liberties Union have come out in opposition to these measures

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