ON LEADING PODCAST • Episode #26 • July 3, 2024

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Episode #26

Nick Troiano

On Championing Political Reform

By Lori Brewer Collins

And advocating for true bipartisanship

Nick Troiano stands as a prominent figure in the realm of political reform and bipartisanship, advocating for a more functional and representative democracy in the United States. As the Executive Director of Unite America and the author of The Primary Solution, Troiano’s work is pivotal in addressing the deep-seated issues plaguing the American political landscape. Nick’s commitment to political reform led him to run for public office as an independent candidate. In 2014, he ran for the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania’s 10th congressional district. Although his bid was unsuccessful, his campaign was notable for its emphasis on cross-partisan collaboration and grassroots mobilization. This experience provided him with a firsthand understanding of the challenges faced by independent candidates in a predominantly two-party system.

As the Executive Director of Unite America, Nick has been instrumental in the organization’s mission to bridge the partisan divide and promote a more representative democracy. Unite America focuses on supporting nonpartisan political reforms that encourage a more functional and representative government. Under Troiano’s leadership, the organization has championed various initiatives, including open primaries, ranked-choice voting, and independent redistricting commissions. These efforts aim to reduce polarization, increase voter choice, and ensure that elected officials are more accountable to their constituents rather than to party leaders or special interests.

In The Primary Solution, Nick delves into the root causes of political dysfunction in the United States and offers a comprehensive roadmap for reform. The book argues that the current primary election system exacerbates polarization by incentivizing candidates to cater to the extremes of their parties rather than to the broader electorate. Nick advocates for open primaries and ranked-choice voting as key solutions to create a more inclusive and competitive electoral process. His insights are grounded in both academic research and his practical experiences in the field, making the book a valuable resource for anyone interested in understanding and addressing the systemic issues in American politics.

Through his leadership at Unite America and his writings, Troiano has made significant strides in raising awareness about the need for political reform and in advancing practical solutions to improve American democracy. His efforts have garnered support from a diverse array of stakeholders, demonstrating the broad appeal and potential impact of his ideas.

Key Moments

  • 8% of Americans elected 83% of Congress. Read that again… This statistic underscores the disproportionate influence of a small segment of the electorate on legislative outcomes, highlighting significant issues in representation and democratic fairness. The imbalance often results from gerrymandering and the structure of primary elections, which can marginalize the broader public and entrench partisan divisions.
  • The primary problem is the party primary system. The current system leads to the election of extreme candidates and hinders the ability of Congress to work together and deliver results. Abolishing party primaries and implementing an all-candidate primary system, along with ranked-choice voting, can ensure that winning candidates have majority support.
  • Bipartisanship is crucial for effective governance. It encourages collaboration and compromise between parties, leading to more balanced and inclusive policy decisions. This cooperation helps bridge ideological divides, ensuring that legislation addresses a broader range of perspectives and needs, ultimately fostering stability and public trust in the political system.
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