GRAND Magazine - September/October 2016 - 44


grand ideas

CONNECT WITH GRAND

Advocate: Tearing down barriers between
politicians and citizens
BY JOHN ARTHUR

A

ll around us are signs that voters across the world are
frustrated. In the 2016 American presidential race, for
example, we have in Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
the two least liked candidates of the past 10 election cycles.

Whether warranted or not, there is a sense that democracy is
failing us (or perhaps we are failing it). People feel powerless.

How Advocate can help

But there's a potential game changer on the horizon in
Advocate, a new engagement tool that can bridge the gap
between politicians and supporters. It works almost like a
more interactive version of Yelp-every politician, from the
most local to national, will have a page that they can claim.
Supporters can follow politicians, leave reviews, leave feedback, and communicate with politicians and their campaign staff.
Most importantly, it can provide real-time polling
that includes not just simple data, but also insight into
the why's and how's of what a politician's constituents
think about an issue.
"Right now, I don't think data is actually very
helpful in tracking what's happening in our current election," said Jason Andrews, one of the
co-founders of Advocate. "It's 'go vs. no go.'
Would you vote Republican or Democrat? But
traditional systems of data collection are not
matching what people are doing."

It offers an ecosystem of data

Instead, Andrews says that Advocate's polling system
will aim to paint the whole picture, "a whole ecosystem of
data," with a focus on insight about people's beliefs and
political stances. This would benefit the politician and the
44 GRAND

SEPTEMBER OCTOBER 2016

constituent-the politician has a better sense of what her constituents believe, and the constituent's voice is more likely to be
heard.
Chris Bystrom, Advocate's CEO, summed up the company's
goals succinctly: "Let's use technology and design to empower
the tenets of democracy."
Advocate already has more than 100 politicians signed
up, and, although they cannot reveal the names of any of
the politicians yet, among their ranks are state senators
from across the country, as well as nationally known political
figures.

It's a win for democracy

Democracy as it currently functions, with land-line polling and
a lack of an effective mechanism for communication between
politician and constituent, is still stuck in the 20th century, but
technology like Advocate has the potential to push democracy
well into the 21st, and, if adopted by enough of the citizenry,
may restore people's faith in democracy as an institution in the
process.

John Arthur is a writer and musician from New
Jersey. You can find his fiction, poems, and reviews
under the name L.M. Alder, and his band at
www.thedeafeningcolors.com.


https://www.facebook.com/GRANDmagazine/ https://www.twitter.com/grandMmagazine https://www.pinterest.com/GRANDmagazine2/ https://plus.google.com/114746402480325356757 http://www.advocate.io/ http://www.advocate.io/ http://www.thedeafeningcolors.com/

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - September/October 2016

Contents
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2016 - 1
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2016 - 2
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2016 - 3
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2016 - Contents
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