For over 50 years, we have lived in a “democracy” defined by a stagnant Constitution, partisan gridlock, and rule by an appointed Supreme Court minority. Progress is stalled. At best, we rely on executive orders to deliver equal protection, due process, and the rights and privileges of citizenship (while, at worst, they take it away). We chafe at the irrefutable legal authority of a Supreme Court that operates without rules of ethics or accountability, forcing the legal community and legacy civil rights organizations to engage in a constant game of whack-a-mole, chasing democracy from one state court to the next.

We must do more than defend.

If our democracy is to survive this death by a thousand cuts, we must assume a new role as founders of a true multiracial democracy that delivers for all. We must remake the systems and structure of governing—the values, laws, practices, indicators, and legal standards—so that to serve all becomes the norm.

Three structures of governing will be foundational to this transformation: 1. a rule of law that puts equal protection for all people, in all places, at its core; 2. a consistent and rational body of laws that brings those values and principles to life through governing; and 3. a fair and functioning apparatus that distributes and ensures enforcement of the rules laid out by the body of laws.

  1. A Rule of Law for Equal Protection
  2. A Consistent Body of Laws
  3.  Fair and Functioning Apparatus for Delivering Equal Protection

In the next founding of this democracy, we will need a proactive legal standard of equal protection to overcome the last 50 years of lawfare dismantling the rights and privileges of Black and Brown people, Indigenous people, LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, workers, and the poor. We will need an outcomes-based affirmative standard that requires human thriving, not just protection from discrimination and exclusion. We will need a standard that catalyzes, promotes, and delivers fair and just population-level outcomes for all people.

We can accept no less. The work of governing, like our work at PolicyLink, must be to deliver more than the win. It must deliver positive, tangible, measurable, and equitable impacts on the lived experience of American democracy.

Read the full article about multiracial governing by Judith Dangerfield at Stanford Social Innovation Review.