Vital Signs of Democracy is a free narrative threat analysis service brought to you by the Liberty Bell Coalition. We represent the majority of Americans that identify as moderate conservatives, independents and liberals.
VSD utilizes a proven, proprietary narrative threat analysis process to rate individual news articles and social media posts in ten key threat factors. This threat analysis looks at the stories we are telling in the news and measures their potential threat to America democracy.
We aggregate the individual threat ratings into a master "threat level rating" every two weeks.
More on the Vital Signs of Democracy "Meter"
These editorial guidelines inform our threat analysis and rating of political news articles, social media posts and YouTube videos.
We believe that our current political discourse has dangerously exceeded our time honored, moderate guardrails that have governed debate in America since the Civil War. Since that time, America has vacillated between moderate conservative and liberal policies. If one party moved America too far to the right or left, our system adjusted itself in the next election and brought our governance back to a more centralist position that was aligned with the views of the majority of Americans. Our narrative threat analysis is telling us that is not entirely true anymore.
We offer the Vital Signs of Democracy meter as a way for ordinary citizens to keep track of the current threat levels to democracy in America based on the stories we are telling in the news.
We analyze threats to democracy on a broad spectrum of political issues like voting and election certification, majority vs. minority governance, Supreme Court rulings, the health of our system of checks and balances, the regulation of social media news platforms and much more. We rate individual news articles from Threat Level 1 to 10 based on the threats to democracy they are reporting on. We then aggregate the ten individual ratings into one VSD master threat level rating every two weeks.
Our threat level rating scale is as follows:
Extreme Threat Level 9-10 – America has become an autocracy. One party maintains absolute power and offers only rigged elections. Political dissent and freedom of choice are suppressed. Climate change is denied. The judicial system issues rulings that reinforce autocratic governance. News and social media platforms post only approved stories. Students are taught a state approved curriculum. Women and people of color are second class citizens. Corruption is everywhere. America stops defending freedom around the world.
Very High Threat Level 7-8 – America is leaning towards autocratic rule. One party attempts to make it impossible for the other party to win an election. Supreme Court rulings represent political positions rather than non-partisan deliberation. America’s system of checks and balances is ineffective in holding political law breakers accountable. Some states attempt to control educational curriculum. Women and people of color struggle to find representation. The impacts of climate change are ignored. America only engages with global challenges when it benefits the United States.
High Threat Level 5-6 – America’s political process is in stalemate as the efforts of both parties cancel each other out. This results in a tossup with no clear direction for moving forward. No progress is made on important issues like health care, education, reform and economic disparity. America’s stagnation results in a loss of influence concerning global issues like climate change, immigration and illegal invasions.
Moderate Threat Level 3-4 – America is leaning towards democracy. Voting and election certification are working for the most part. Supreme Court rulings are mostly based on non-partisan interpretations of the constitution. Health care is a right not a privilege. Congress passes laws the benefit the majority of Americans. Women have the right to choose. Minorities make progress towards acquiring real economic power. The impacts of climate change are beginning to be addressed. America is a force of good in the world.
Low Threat Level 1-2 – America is a democracy with bi-partisan support for free elections, rule by the majority, Supreme Court rulings based on non-partisan perspectives, political law breakers held accountable by our system of checks and balances. Low cost health care is available to everyone. Climate change is addressed as an existential threat. There is a safety net for financially challenged citizens. America is fully involved with its allies in mitigating immigration and opposing illegal invasions of free nations.
Our narrative analysis perspective is based on national polls that show
a majority of Americans agree with the following tenets about democracy:
All citizens have the right to have their vote counted and certified by a non-partisan election officials.
America is governed by the majority opinion, while allowing for dissent from the minority.
America should maintain the separation of church and state.
Women have the right to choose what they do with their bodies without interference from state or national government.
Our system of checks and balances should protect the American people from radical, extremist policies from either the right or left.
Our judicial system should consider legal arguments from a non-partisan point of view.
Social media, internet and cable news platforms should be regulated so they do not intentionally publish disinformation and violent rhetoric to make more money.
Appropriate measures should be taken to drastically reduce carbon emissions and transition to renewable energy sources.
Election campaigns should be supported by donations from individual citizens not special interest groups, wealthy corporate organizations or dark money political action groups.
Reasonable laws that govern the sale and use of fire arms should not permit private ownership of assault type weapons.
America should join with allies around the world to address global challenges like climate change, immigration, economic stability, and the unwanted aggression of one state towards another.