If someone told me ten years ago, while I was teaching students in Pennsylvania, that I would be a partner in a political startup, I would say the chances were as likely as Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders upending and reshaping the American primary process as they have orchestrated and we have unabashedly witnessed in recent months. So, at that time, not very likely. Now, fast forward to 2015. Living in London, the distance I felt from the United States reignited my passion for American politics, which afforded me to see how broken the American system had become, with so many voters feeling disenfranchised with its government and its leaders.
With the same adoration for our country and a penchant for technology and the arts, my step-brother Laurance Rassin and I knew something had to be done to deliver democracy back to the people. We created a platform that would allow people not only to read and watch the news, but to be the news and engage in healthy political dialogue from both sides of the aisle. From that, Political Storm was born. We see an opportunity to change the political dynamic by opening up the conversation. That's what Political Storm is: a start up where anyone and everybody can write about American politics. Your voice is heard, but more importantly, both sides are equally represented. You have Bernie supporters and Trump supporters, Hillary-ites and Independents alike.
The issue plaguing the discussion of American politics today is that our country is locked in partisan polarization like never before. People aren't listening to other sides of the story, and instead are only attracted to commentary that reinforces their own ideologies. They have personal echo chambers, augmented via partisan political websites and "friend" groups on Facebook, curated social media channels, and cable news networks.
Healthy conversation, debate, and exchanging ideas are crucial elements of progress, and necessary to help individuals understand all sides of an issue. Unfortunately, the existing zones or spheres of understanding often migrate to a place like Twitter, where snippets of communication are flung around in a particularly combative manner. At Political Storm, our goal is to create an environment where longform discussion takes the shape of op-eds and interviews, a place where debates can really take place and have a home.
The political climate in the United States is increasingly one of frustration, where people feel like the political leadership of both parties isn't listening to their concerns. This frustration has manifested itself in the swell of support for "outsider" candidates like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. It's unhealthy for leaders to be disconnected from the electorate, and this distance has fostered further distrust of political figures and the government more broadly.
The impetus behind Political Storm is to serve as a venue for the conversations that need to take place. Political Storm was created to get people out of their echo chambers and provide them with a platform for their voice to be heard. On Political Storm anyone can sign up to blog and comment on articles written by people from the whole political spectrum. Listening and engaging with passion and respect is the only way for this country to break free from the quagmire of partisan rhetoric that currently grips our nation's electorate.
There's never been a better or more difficult time to bridge both sides of the political conversation. But we're up for the challenge. Political Storm is bringing democracy back to the American voters.
Jon Saltzman is the Publisher and Co-Founder of Political Storm. He has owned and managed several successful enterprises over his thirty-plus year career, including work on several political campaigns and serving as CEO of a NYSE listed company.
Saltzman has a degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and Masters degree in history from LaSalle University. He currently resides in London, England and Philadelphia.