Face-to-Face Democracy through iOS
Politics in America has changed a lot since 2008. Super PACs and million dollar fundraisers have increased the importance of money in elections, and campaigns have developed strategies that shun engagement with broad swaths of the American people. Data-driven voter turnout requires less communication with persuadable voters and more mobilization of dependable supporters. Invitations to presidential campaign events are sent directly to proven fans, not curious citizens. These tactics win elections, but they rarely win hearts and minds. They prevent the creation of an inclusive political climate that fosters problem solving over partisan bickering.
Today, many everyday Americans have a tool in their pockets to overcome these changes and promote engagement and transparency in Election 2016 (and that tool is not cash). Smartphones enable the sharing and organization of information in an accessible and dynamic format — information that can be used to facilitate real-world interactions and constructive political dialogue. The mission of Presevent, our new iOS app, is to leverage this capability to revive America’s long tradition of face-to-face democracy, against the trend of political trench warfare.
Presevent scours Democratic and Republican presidential primary candidates’ press releases and news stories to build a database of upcoming Election 2016 speeches, fundraisers, and forums across the United States. Presevent’s iOS app alerts users about the time, place, and cost of upcoming events, giving users more opportunities to see candidates, in-person with no filter. Integration with the iPhone’s Calendar application helps users set their own schedule, and utilization of Apple’s CoreLocation framework helps users find local events.
Download the Beta version of Presevent here, and let us know what you think!
We, the co-founders of Presevent, aren’t both American citizens — Lea grew up in Slovenia, while Joe grew up in Illinois — but we are both believers in the power of mobile technology to broaden democratic participation. On its own, Presevent can’t change the political system. The app can’t develop policies to solve America’s most pressing challenges, from education reform to foreign policy. But Presevent can help more Americans get involved in these vitally important conversations about improving our world.
For voters, no television ad or debate performance can replace the energy and information in a personal interaction with a candidate. For candidates, no advisor can replace the voice and spirit of a concerned and curious voter. Presevent levels the playing field, so that voters and candidates have more access to a truly democratic exchange of ideas.
This week, Presevent is attending Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference — our co-founder Lea won a Student Scholarship! — and after two months of hard work, the Beta version of Presevent is ready for download.
Join us in our goal to improve the usability and performance of Presevent, and help us in our mission to promote face-to-face democracy through mobile technology. We look forward to hearing from you, and we are excited to share this opportunity to promote engagement and transparency in Election 2016.