“We believe in American exceptionalism,” reads the opening line of the 2016 Republican Party Platform. “We believe the United States of America is unlike any other nation on earth.”
Yet today, the Republican Party finds itself entertaining some of the same unsettling nativist and authoritarian impulses that characterized Europe throughout the 20th century. These ideals are antithetical to what it means to be a Republican, and what it means to be American.
Defending Democracy Together is a 501c4 advocacy organization created by lifelong conservatives and Republicans — many of whom have served in Republican administrations and write for conservative publications. We are dedicated to defending America’s democratic norms, values, and institutions and fighting for consistent conservative principles like rule of law, free trade, and expanding legal immigration.
Through research, education and grassroots activism, Defending Democracy Together is fighting abuses of power that threaten to undermine the integrity of U.S. elections, federal agencies, and the Republican Party as a whole. We aim to elevate voices across the conservative political spectrum who advocate for these principles. We hope Americans on the Left, Right, and Center will join us.
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Bill Kristol is editor-at-large of The Bulwark. He was a founder of The Weekly Standard, and is a regular guest on leading political commentary shows. Prior to his work at The Weekly Standard, Kristol led the Project for the Republican Future, an organization that helped shape the strategy that produced the 1994 Republican congressional victory. From 1985 to 1993, Kristol served as chief of staff to Education Secretary William Bennett in the Reagan Administration and as chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle in the George H. W. Bush administration. Before coming to Washington, Kristol taught politics at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University.
Mona Charen is a Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center, columnist, and the author of two New York Times bestsellers: Useful Idiots and Do-Gooders. Her new book, Sex Matters, was released in June. Charen began her career writing for National Review magazine, and she served as a speechwriter for Nancy Reagan before joining President Reagan’s staff in the White House Office of Public Liaison and in the Office of Communications. Her work has been featured in over 200 newspapers and websites, and she is a regular guest on public affairs programs.
Linda Chavez is one the of chairman for the Center for Equal Opportunity, a syndicated columnist, has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New Republic, Commentary, and Reader’s Digest, and has served on two Fortune 500 company boards. She authored Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation, discussing the timeline of Hispanic progress regarding bilingual education, voting rights, immigration, and affirmative action. Chavez served in the Reagan administration as the Director of the Office of Public Liaison, making her the highest-ranking woman in President Reagan’s White House. In 2000, the Library of Congress named Chavez a Living Legend.
Christine Todd Whitman is the President of The Whitman Strategy Group (WSG), a consulting firm that specializes in energy and environmental issues. Governor Whitman served in the cabinet of President George W. Bush as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from January of 2001 until June of 2003. She was the 50th Governor of the State of New Jersey, serving as its first woman governor from 1994 until 2001. As Governor, Christie Whitman earned praise from both Republicans and Democrats for her commitment to preserve a record amount of New Jersey land as permanent green space. She is the author of a New York Times best seller called “It’s My Party Too”, and in 2017, Governor Whitman was awarded The Eisenhower Medal for Leadership and Service.
Jennifer Horn is the former Chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party. In 2008, she became the first female Republican nominee to run for Congress. Prior to working in politics, Horn was a radio talk show host and a journalist for The Telegraph. She currently writes a political column for the New Hampshire Union Leader and serves on the leadership for Log Cabin Republicans.
Bob Inglis is the Executive Director of republicEn.org, a growing group of conservatives who care about climate change. He served in the U.S. Congress from 1993 to 1999 and again from 2005-2011, a Republican representing Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina. On leaving Congress Inglis went full-time into promoting free enterprise action on climate change, launching a 501(c)(3) educational initiative now based at George Mason University and known as republicEn.org. Inglis was a Resident Fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics in 2011, a Visiting Energy Fellow at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment in 2012, and Resident Fellow at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics in 2014.
Chris Gagin is a Director of Defending Democracy Together. An attorney, Chris shot into the national consciousness when he resigned his post as chairman of the Belmont County (Ohio) GOP following the now infamous summit in Helsinki. A former District Director and Staff Attorney for an Ohio member of Congress, Chris lives with his wife and three-year-old daughter in St. Clairsville, Ohio.
Andy Zwick was the founder and chief executive officer of Derm101, a pioneer in online medical education, which he sold in 2016. Mr. Zwick also played a pivotal role in the creation of the Ackerman Academy of Dermatopathology, a medical practice in New York City, and has been a principal in a real estate firm in Manhattan. He is currently involved in various philanthropic efforts in online civic education and higher education.
Benjamin Parker is the associate director of Defending Democracy Together. He has worked on local, statewide, and national political campaigns since 2012, as well as in the House of Representatives. His writing has been published in The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Examiner. He received his B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and Russian and East European Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.