It is intimidatingly early on a Friday morning and I’m inside the bright-white Denver headquarters of Unite America, a “philanthropic venture fund” dedicated to radically reshaping the way we elect our public officials. The walls are splashed with slogans in red and blue reading things like “Country Over Party.” Depictions of the Statue of Liberty are omnipresent. A bubbly employee repeatedly offers me a bagel. 

Nick Troiano, Unite America’s executive director, walks in looking abundantly boyish in khakis and a neat haircut. At 34, Troiano fronts an organization that has spent more than $70 million since 2019 pushing through electoral reforms. Unite America’s core demands are open primaries, meaning one non-partisan primary open to all candidates, and ranked-choice voting, where voters rank all eligible candidates in order of preference. 

When these reforms are passed, Unite America contends, they boost moderate candidates that appeal to an “exhausted majority” of centrist voters alienated by current modes for extremism within the Democratic and the Republican parties. While the reforms may sound anodyne, Unite America is not humble in its aims: To Troiano, this is about nothing less than the salvation of our nation.