The Election and Implications for the Pro-Freedom Agenda

Last week, I hosted what turned out to be a pleasantly optimistic conversation about the election and what the outcomes mean for those who want to pursue pro-liberty policies. I was joined by my Roundtable colleague Christie Herrera; the president and CEO of the American Legislative Exchange Council, Lisa Nelson; and the president and CEO of the State Policy Network, Tracie Sharp. 

Why the optimism? Even though the election results indicate a divided nation, there appears to be an opportunity to focus on important issues, such as health care and criminal justice reform, and to make real progress in advancing liberty, opportunity, and personal responsibility. Lisa Nelson shared this map of how the results have played out at the state level. This makes it easier to see that we have clarity as to which party is in power, making it easier to plan and pursue a cohesive agenda. 

After the event, Sharp summarized some of the other reasons to feel encouraged: 

“The concerns of 2020 may not have translated into landslide election victories or down-ballot waves, but Americans’ voting decisions can tell us plenty about the problems people face and the opportunities for a better path forward,” she said. For example:   

  • A majority of Americans (78 percent) want to pursue common ground and embrace a focus on American principles like liberty and individualism. 

  • People want economic solutions now. In the past three months alone, 45 percent of Americans have said they received aid, and 44 percent said they delayed or reduced spending

  • The country has found itself in a place where trust in Washington, D.C., is at an all-time low. Six out of 10 Americans say they have no trust in Washington to do what’s right, and this attitude tracks closely with the national mood of the last several years.  

  • Nearly half of voters consider a free-market economy to be the best means of addressing our country’s issues.  

  • Health Care: 40 percent say we need to replace the Affordable Care Act with a system that prioritizes transparency, choice, and cost effectiveness. Meanwhile, 38 percent say we should fix the ACA, while only one in five voters think we should have universal government health care. 

  • Taxes: 42 percent think recent tax-code changes were smart and should be extended; 39 percent say to raise the top marginal tax rate to 70 percent and increase the corporate tax rate.  

  • Education: 57 percent of voters believe every child deserves a chance at the best possible education, and that can mean going outside the public school system for additional support or for the entirety of their schooling.  

At the same time, our panelists raised some very legitimate reasons why pro-freedom advocates should not become complacent, such as potential incursions on philanthropic freedom, as Herrera nicely outlined. Our website has plenty of information on that front. In spite of these kinds of issues, they nevertheless found plenty of other reasons to be optimistic, suggesting that the nation may not be so divided as it may seem. If, in fact, this is the case, that is very welcome news indeed. 

Watch the full discussion here: 



Roundtable Roundup

Get the latest news and analysis from Philanthropy Roundtable. Sign up for our weekly newsletter, the Roundtable Roundup.

"*" indicates required fields


This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.