Putting Politics in Your Pocket

Drake Hougo
Feb 12, 2018 · 4 min read

Our political system is broken. But technology can help fix it.

Pulse is actively transforming government communication by connecting citizens directly to Congressional offices & campaigns around bills that affect their lives.

The workflow is simple:

  1. Bill in Congress →
  2. Citizens read & vote on the bill on Pulse
  3. Votes are sent to their elected representative →
  4. Lawmakers use this data in their legislative process →
  5. Citizens receive feedback from their representative explaining their vote.

Our video explains this best.

For users, we are a free website that allows constituents to learn about issues, vote on legislation and better understand the preferences of those around you.

For Congressional offices and campaigns we provide data about their districts political preferences.

Currently, Pulse is launching with Congressional campaigns, incumbent and challenger alike, across the United States connecting voters and leaders in the upcoming 2018 midterm election.

Our reason for creating Pulse is clear: the American people are not a part of the political process. This isn’t a partisan issue, rather anecdotal evidence and analysis of the data.

Let’s break it down:

  • Congress has a 13% approval rating
  • 62% of Republicans think the Republican party is out of touch with America
  • 67% of Democrats think the Democratic party is out of touch with America
  • 82% of voters identify as moderate or “slightly” conservative/ liberal

We are not well represented by our elected leaders in Washington who prioritize special interests, donors and the party. We are locked out of the political process despite having all the tools to constantly engage with it.

And while technology has revolutionized every aspect of our lives, we still communicate with government using 20th century technology (i.e. emails, phone calls, letters).

Pulse is an innovative website creating a direct communication channel between leaders in Washington and citizens, for daily engagement.

Why do we think Pulse will change American Democracy? Read on.

The Current Issue with Political Communication:

The average American has virtually no say in politics on a day-to-day basis.

Don’t think so?

  • We vote once every 2 years (at least 55.7% do, trailing most developed countries) and do little else to engage between elections
  • < 1% of citizens send call, write or fax their Congress member on a regular basis
  • Most Congressional offices are engaging <1% of their constituency on a monthly basis

It’s not your fault or your representatives. The medium for political communication has not caught up with the rapid scale of technology.

Protesting, calling & sending emails are typically the prescribed form of civic engagement, but are too much work for busy Americans and yields unknown results, if any. Pulse lowers the barrier to entry for civic engagement, for easy and meaningful participation in government tied into the comfort of well-designed website and mobile application (coming soon!).

We aim to reduce the citizen-representative feedback loop from two-year election cycles to a constant dialogue centered around issues.

The Shift: Demographic Changes & Political Realignment

The face of the American electorate has changed: Millennials now occupy the largest voting bloc in the United States (35%). Yet, Millennials are increasingly disengaged with government because 1) politicians have yet to understand their needs and 2) they do not feel they can make a difference.

Millennials are tech-savvy & identify with issues over ideologies. They value fairness and want to be involved, but simply don’t know the best way to be active. Congressional leaders who adopt technology into their governance as a way to listen to young voters will be the winners in this seismic shifting of demographics.

As the Baby Boomer generation continues to age, Millennials represent the next wave of American leadership. The average Congress member’s age is 57 years old, despite well over a third of the U.S. voting population being under the age of 35.

Partisan registration is also in the decline. In California alone, declined to state/independent voters are tied with Republicans in registration numbers.

Our synopsis: Political parties are failing to represent the vast majority of Americans, and Millennials in particular are looking for a meaningful, tech-based way to engage with politics. Those who adopt Pulse will close the feedback loop of political communication, and leave other legislators behind.

Our Solution, Pulse

We connect citizens to their elected officials on a per-bill basis.

Pulse is invaluable in several ways:

  • Real information: We provide bipartisan, non-bias information about the bills, generated from official government analysis. We usually pull our bill information from Congress.gov, the Congressional Research Service & the Congressional Budget Office. We also reference GovTrack as they write thorough bill summaries.
  • No bots/hackers: We actively prevent non-humans, bots or other entities from using our site by ensuring all users have been cross checked against government official voter registration rolls.
  • Congressional Partners: We are actively working with Congressional offices/campaigns to use our data in their legislative process. This includes them using the information to craft solutions and vote on legislation.
  • More accurate than polls: We allow citizens to understand the ideological preferences of those around them with simple graphics broken down by geographic locations
  • Starting Dialogue: We facilitate conversations between individuals of differing opinions.

Vision for the Future:

With the changing nature of communication, political discontent, increasing polarization, growth of income inequality, climate change and the rapid scaling of technology, our Democracy will undergo radical changes over the next 10 years.

Pulse intends to co-op the U.S. government by placing the political process, from city council to Congress, in your pocket. Our goal is to have a hyper connected, informed & attentive citizenry.

Our company growth philosophy hinges on delivering a service and brand American citizens view as a reliable source of information and easy way to engage in government.

We can’t say what American democracy will look like in 2050, but Pulse is confident the first waves of digital democracy will break during the 2018 and 2020 elections, and we will be ready.

Welcome to Pulse, where your voice matters. Be heard @ pulsevoter.com.


Our political system is broken, but technology can be the…

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