Programs & Agenda

The 2024 Braver Angels National Convention is a call to citizenship. Our main goals are to connect with each other across the divides and create ways to work together to save our country.

The style will be participatory. Experts in attendance will be on tap, not on top. The Convention will be co-chaired by one conservative and one liberal leader who will use adapted parliamentary procedure to ensure equal participation.

Meet Our Convention Co-Chairs

Matt Hausman Red Co-Chair

Matt Hausman

Red Co-Chair
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.
Martin Luther King Jr. called upon Americans to be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. But does not seeing color also mean we blind ourselves to the racism against which King fought? Monica Harris (President of FAIR), John Wood Jr., and more confront the arguments for and against colorblindness in this exciting conversation on race in America.
Cameron Swallow Blue Co-Chair

Cameron Swallow

Blue Co-Chair
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.
Martin Luther King Jr. called upon Americans to be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. But does not seeing color also mean we blind ourselves to the racism against which King fought? Monica Harris (President of FAIR), John Wood Jr., and more confront the arguments for and against colorblindness in this exciting conversation on race in America.

Debating the Issues

Which issues today are tearing us apart? Where can working in the “Braver Angels Way” do the most good for our nation in this challenging moment? At the 2024 Braver Angels National Convention, we’ll debate four key political issues over three days.

How are we choosing which issues to dig into? We sent out a poll of 12 possible issues and over 1,000 members cast their vote.

The top four issues going to the Convention floor are:

  • Abortion
  • Economic Inequality / Economic Growth
  • Free Speech / Hate Speech
  • Immigration


The delegates in Kenosha will discuss and debate these four, narrow it down to two, and then pick one for a priority focus in the coming months.

Why? In a time of partisan gridlock, we are saying: “It doesn’t have to be this way.” In a time when so many of our political leaders don’t seem up to the task, we are saying: “Watch us.”

Featured Speakers

Jay Bhattacharya
Dr. Jay Bhattacharya
Professor, Stanford University Medical School
Co-Author, The Great Barrington Declaration
Batya Ungar-Sargon
Batya Ungar-Sargon

Opinion Editor, Newsweek
Author of Second Class: How the Elites Betrayed America’s Working Men and Women

Jonathan Rauch
Jonathan Rauch

Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Author of The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth

Monica Harris

Executive Director, Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR)

Glenn Stanton

Director of Global Family Formation Studies, Focus on the Family
Author of The Myth of the Dying Church

Anne Snyder
Anne Snyder
Anne Snyder, Editor-in-Chief, Comment Magazine
Host, The Whole Person Revolution
Peter Skerry
Professor of Political Science, Boston College
Author of Mexican Americans: The Ambivalent Minority and Counting on the Census? Race, Group Identity, and the Evasion of Politics
Jim Robb

Vice President of Alliances and Activism, NumbersUSA
Author of Political Migrants: Hispanic Voters on the Move

Judge Griffith
Judge Thomas B. Griffith
Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit 
(2005-2020, nominated by President George W. Bush)
 

Member, Commission on the Supreme Court
(appointed by President Biden)
 

Member, American Bar Association Task Force for American Democracy
David Becker
David Becker
Executive Director and Founder, The Center for Election Innovation and Research

Election Law Expert, CBS Co-author, The Big Truth: Upholding Democracy in the Age of “The Big Lie”
Mónica Guzmán
Host, A Braver Way Podcast
Author of I Never Thought of
It That Way
John Wood Jr.
John Wood Jr.
National Ambassador,
Braver Angels
Opinion Columnist, USA TODAY
David Blankenhorn
David Blankenhorn
President & Co-Founder,
Braver Angels
Author of In Search of Braver Angels
Bill Doherty
Dr. Bill Doherty

Co-Founder, Braver Angels
Author of Becoming a Citizen Therapist

Reena Bernards
Reena Bernards
Project Lead, Trustworthy Elections Initiative
Creator, Braver Angels Common Ground Workshop 
Elizabeth Doll
Elizabeth Doll
Director of Braver Politics

Featured Conversations

John Wood Jr. speaking

Is It Racist
to Be Colorblind?

Martin Luther King Jr. called upon Americans to be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. But does not seeing color also mean we blind ourselves to the racism against which King fought? Monica Harris (President of FAIR), John Wood Jr., and more confront the arguments for and against colorblindness in this exciting conversation on race in America.

Populism and the Future of Conservatism

What points of difference and possible commonalities exist between populist conservatives and more mainstream, Reagan-era conservatives? Should the future of conservatism basically reflect Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on immigration, trade, and other important issues, or should the movement should be guided by Reagan-era principles that emphasize free markets and limited government?

Progressivism and the Future of the Democratic Party

What points of difference and possible commonalities exist between progressives and more moderate Democrats? Should the Democratic Party move in a more progressive direction, or should it follow more traditionally liberal principles that have guided the party for decades?

Can Faith Communities Help America Navigate 2024?

Some people believe that faith communities have been just as much a part of the problem of polarization as they have been part of the solution. But surely faith communities can be agents of reconciliation and forces for depolarization—right? In conversation with various religious leaders reflecting the political diversity of America—from a conservative Evangelical to a liberal Episcopalian, a Jewish leader to a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints leader (and more)—participants will hear how faith communities can draw on their own traditions and principles to help Americans both stand for their convictions and be peacemakers amidst a polarizing election year. These sessions are moderated by Anne Snyder, editor-in-chief of Comment Magazine.

America's Great
Third-Party Debate

This is the debate that America’s never had, where longshot candidates and activists from third parties, from the major parties, and from everywhere in between share their visions and show what it means to give one’s reputation to a cause greater than self.  The resolution “Resolved: Vote Third Party” will be a prompt for the speakers to discuss what’s wrong with American politics and how to fix it.

A Gay Man and a Conservative Christian Walk Into a Culture War…

During the gay marriage wars, Glenn Stanton, a senior leader at Focus on the Family, was one of America’s leading advocates for traditional marriage. Jonathan Rauch, a gay man, was one of America’s leading advocates for gay marriage. Then an amazing thing happened: these two ideological opponents began to talk with each other, became friends, and eventually became founding board members of an organization tackling polarization (Braver Angels). Gay marriage is now the law of the land, but controversies about sex and gender and the role of religion continue to divide Americans. Should Americans continue to fight the culture wars over these issues, or is there a better way? This session is moderated by David Blankenhorn, the president of Braver Angels—and a leader who, in an earlier career, found himself on both sides of the gay marriage wars, and a matchmaker to Glenn and Jonathan.

Can We Really Do Nothing About Immigration?

Immigration is now the number one issue on voters’ minds. But is it really an unsolvable issue? What if we started with leaders on both sides talking with each other? In this session, we’ll hear from a conservative leader at one of America’s largest grassroots organizations, Jim Robb from NumbersUSA (an organization advocating for immigration restrictions), in conversation with a leader on the other side of the immigration issue. This session is moderated by Peter Skerry, a professor at Boston College and a leading scholar and writer on immigration issues.

Can We Have a Better Pandemic?

What can America learn from the Covid pandemic so that we can do it better the next time? And what would that improved response look like? Stanford professor Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, co-author of the Great Barrington Declaration and one of the leading critics of the government’s response to the pandemic, will take up these issues with a leader who disagrees with him in a full and free conversation. We’ll discuss missed opportunities, lessons learned, and how we can have a better pandemic response in the future.

Is the Class Divide Bigger Than the Partisan Divide?

Donald Trump’s election in 2016 shed light on a growing reality: many people in America’s working class feel as if they have been left behind and disconnected from the rest of America. Many distrust that America’s political class is looking out for working men and women. Is this growing class divide an even bigger challenge than the partisan divide? And what can be done to bridge this class divide? Batya Ungar-Sargon, author of the new book, Second Class: How the Elites Betrayed America’s Working Men and Women and Newsweek opinion editor, discusses these issues with red and blue working-class Americans featured in her book.

Trusted Elections Campaign Leaders

Can We Trust
Our Elections?

What happens when you bring together an unusual and politically diverse group to discuss trustworthy elections? This extraordinary conversation, moderated by Judge Thomas B. Griffith, will bring together a January 6 protestor with one of the leading critics of former President Trump’s election efforts, and including leaders of some of the most interesting initiatives to build trustworthy elections. Together, they’ll take one of the most pressing questions facing America: can we trust our elections?
Steve Saltwick

The Civic Renewal Playbook: How to Take Action & Build Hope

Learn a practical playbook of resources for Civic Renewal that generates hope and engagement by volunteers and communities who take leadership, as citizens, in addressing public problems.

How to Organize a
Community Debate
Interested in organizing a debate in your community but not sure where to start? This breakout session will guide you through the process, with an emphasis on identifying the needs of your town, state, or community. Delegates will learn the essentials to organizing a debate, including the timeline for preparation, securing the right venue, publicizing your event, and moving from topic to resolution. Participants will leave ready to fill out the Event Request Form (ERF) and assemble a star debate team.

Featured Events & Activities

Braver Angels
Got Talent

Step up to the mic and show us what you got! Join us for an evening of inspiration and entertainment as our leaders (yes—we mean you!) share their skills, passions, and creative talents. Songs, stories, hobbies – whatever talent you want to share! This won’t be your usual song and dance.

Red-Blue Watch Party

Red/Blue Watch Party:
Trump-Biden Debate

On Thursday, June 27th—on the opening night of the convention—join us to watch the first 2024 presidential debate between former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden. It will be the largest Red/Blue debate watch party in the country!
Civil War Film Screening
Film Screening:
Civil War
Presented by A24. Oscar-nominated Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation, Men) takes us on an adrenaline-fueled thrill ride through a near-future fractured America balanced on the razor’s edge. Starring Kirsten Dunst, Cailee Spaeny, Wagner Moura, Stephen McKinley Kenderson, and Nick Offerman. Post-screening discussion to follow.

College Debates &
Discourse Symposium

The College Debates and Discourse Alliance of Braver Angels, ACTA, and BridgeUSA has launched hundreds of campus and classroom debates at higher ed institutions across the nation. In this four-hour symposium, the CD&D team will showcase the program’s best practices, success stories and case studies on the campus and curricular front, research findings and metrics, and much more.

Coddling of the American Mind screening
Film Screening: The Coddling of the American Mind

Grab your popcorn and join us to watch an exclusive screening of Coddling of the American Mind, a movie based on the book written by Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff.

Common Ground
Songwriting

Want to learn to write songs? Then record and perform them? Guided by professional musicians eager to teach and inspire you? Here’s your chance! Led by the Braver Angels Music Team, Red and Blue delegates will participate in a fishbowl and then write original songs.

Braver Network & Field Exhibit Hall

Step into the Exhibit Hall and immerse yourself in a celebration of our movement’s progress, showcasing the remarkable achievements of Braver Angels alliances and field leaders alongside organizations in the Braver Network.

BA Founders

Founders Fireside:
Ask ‘Em Anything!

Speak with Braver Angels Founders David Blankenhorn, Bill Doherty, and David Lapp about whatever’s on your mind.

After the Convention, you’ll have an opportunity to ask the founders anything—whether it’s about the Convention, the election, or the future of Braver Angels in 2024 and beyond.

Closing Night
Concert

On the final night of the Convention, join us for a concert to celebrate our work together. We’ll hear songs from the Braver Angels Music Team and the Common Ground Songwriting Workshops, as well as a special performance from the house band Sons of Serendip.

Come Early, Stay Late

Thursday before Opening Session:
  • Tour Carthage College
  • Visit the Convention Exhibit Hall
  • Attend a symposium on college debates and public discourse
Sunday:
  • Interdenominational Chapel Service
  • Open Discussion: “Ask Braver Angels Founders Anything”

© BRAVER ANGELS 2024

Braver Angels Support