Reader’s Forum — Daela Taeoalii-Tipton

The Battle to Unrig Democracy

Daela Taeoalii-Tipton

Daela Taeoalii-Tipton

David Daley is an award-winning author for a reason. In his first book, Ratf***ed: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy, he opened many peoples’ eyes to the cause behind their own political frustrations: gerrymandering. Like any good activist, instead of just riling folks up, he then provided an outlet for that energy through his second book, UNRIGGED: How Americans are Battling Back to Save Democracy.

By profiling everyday Americans across the country pushing for pro-democracy reform, he helps readers see that you don’t have to be anyone in particular to make change. Anyone can take action. You just have to care enough about the promises of our nation, to protect and provide, and notice how many needs are going unmet by one of the wealthiest, “most developed” countries in the world. From there, you can start conversations with your friends, family and neighbors about their own needs they’d like met and the power they have as constituents.

Representative democracy, the foundation of our country, is our ticket to change. Our vote is our voice, yet for many, truly representative democracy remains an unrealized dream. As UNRIGGED highlights, it’s on us, We the People, to fix the lever of accountability that is our ballots in order to form a more perfect union. Without the sanctity of our votes, people-power will always be fighting an uphill battle against big money and vested interests.

As an organizer fighting to end gerrymandering in Virginia, I loved reading UNRIGGED because it serves as a reminder that democracy is a verb. Not only does it take participation (which has been intentionally, strategically, and structurally suppressed), but it takes defending. As seen in Michigan, Utah, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, every step forward for voters is met with pushback. The good news is, “when voters are given a choice, fairness wins.”

Daela at rally in Richmond in March in favor of a proposed constitutional amendment to establish Virginia’s first redistricting commission. March 2020

Regardless of background or political affiliation, people are frustrated. Regardless of background or political affiliation, people want change. That means that regardless of background or political affiliation, together we can unite to unrig our current political system. Disenfranchisement is not democracy, and neither is a diluted vote. Thank you David Daley for reminding us that we all have the power to do something. When we start the conversation highlighting our shared values, we can fight and win to empower all of our voices, together.

Daela Taeoalii-Tipton is a field organizer with OneVirginia2021, a nonpartisan nonprofit working to end gerrymandering in Virginia through a constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot in November. If you’re interested in getting involved, visit!

Politics for the People Zoom Call

with Author David Daley

Sunday, May 31st


Founder of the Politics for the People free educational series and book club for independent voters. Chair of the New York County Independence Party.

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