The election of Donald Trump was a dark day for many Americans who value science, evidence-based policy, and human rights. Thankfully, a new political group has formed in direct response to the Trump administration called The Party of Reason and Progress (PORP). PORP was founded by author and skeptic David McAfee with an aim to bring evidence-based decisions to our political system.
Importantly, PORP will not be producing candidates (yet). The main goals are to support existing candidates who promote “reason and progress” and enable citizens to better support those candidates. Education and awareness of many issues will also be a focus of the organization. The PORP mission, purpose, strategy go into greater detail:
PORP Mission: The Party of Reason and Progress (PORP) is an organization dedicated to promoting reason and empirically sound decision-making in modern politics. Our mission is to implement effective and rational policies through educating the general public and supporting reasonable and logical public officials and initiatives.
PORP Purpose: The Party seeks, above all, to produce positive change within the political system. Our priorities are to influence politics in four largely interrelated areas: human rights, secularism, evidence-based policymaking, and respectful, nonpartisan dialogue. We seek to promote neither liberal nor conservative principles; rather, we wish to influence politics based on the idea that, when reasonable people are elected, productive dialogue follows.
PORP Strategy: The Party is to function at times as a political action committee and at others as a political party. Our primary function is to advocate for individuals and groups that share our values, harnessing the power of local organizations to steer the course of political discourse toward more productive, science-based policies. We will educate the public, support existing initiatives within any parties as long as they align with our mission, and lobby for important issues where appropriate.
Personally, I think this is an awesome idea and strongly aligns with the ideals I care about. Science and social justice activism are my two main areas I focus on so I would love to see this group flourish. I also will be joining the PORP team as their Vice-President of Science Policy. My duties will consist of leading the science committee and direct the scientific research aspect of our policy creation team. Essentially, I’ll be helping PORP better advocate for science and science-based policy. I have experience presenting scientific testimony, meeting with politicians to talk about science, and science communication, so I’m thrilled to join the team!
PORP is generating excitement in many other people as well. Since joining Twitter in Novemeber of 2016, the PORP Twitter account is approaching 20,000 followers. The PORP Facebook page that also was created last November now has over 40,000 followers. These are impressive numbers for such a young organization. People seem to be really excited about this idea. Here are a few quotes from celebrities and lawmakers endorsing PORP:
Khary Penebaker, who is running to be Wisconsin’s Democratic National Committee Member, endorsed PORP on May 14. Penebaker, an entrepreneur and former U.S. Congressional Candidate, called PORP “the exact opposite of Trump!”
Joe Papp, a former professional road racing cyclist and member of the U.S. National cycling team, joined PORP May 9. He stated that, now more than ever, all Americans need “political leaders who embrace & defend evidence-based policymaking.”
“Anyone horrified by this lack of political leadership & yearning for evidence-based policymaking, join me in checking out @TheOfficialPORP!” Papp wrote in a tweet the following day.
Kristina Wong, a comedian and theater performer born in San Francisco, expressed similar support for PORP. As did Ariane Bellamar, an actress known for her role in Suicide Squad and other films. She said we need a party based on “science & truth, not partisanship.”
This is all super encouraging and this new political group appears to have a bright future. Perhaps it will even generate its own political candidates, but for now it has its work cut out in mitigating the damage of the Trump administration and helping our country care more about science, evidence-based policy, and human rights. You can become a member of PORP by clicking here!