Demos (U.S. think tank)

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Small Demos logo.png
MottoAn equal say and an equal chance for all.
Formation2000; 20 years ago (2000)
FounderCharles Halpern, David Callahan, Stephen Heintz
TypeThink tank
HeadquartersNew York City, New York, United States
Sabeel Rahman
$14,672,624 (2018)[1]

Demos is a liberal think tank based in the United States.[2] The group, which was founded in 2000, has a stated mission to "power the movement for a just, inclusive, multiracial democracy."[3]


In the late 1990s, Demos was conceptualized by Charles Halpern, President of the Nathan Cummings Foundation (1989–2000). Halpern wanted to create a counter-argument to the growing influence of the many right-wing think tanks and establish a multi-issue organization that would focus on progressive policy development and advocacy. David Callahan, a Fellow at the Century Foundation, and Stephen B. Heintz, Vice-President of the EastWest Institute, joined Halpern in helping to found Demos. Founding board members included Arnie Miller, of Isaacson Miller, an executive search firm; David Skaggs, a Colorado Congressman; and Barack Obama, then an Illinois State Senator.

In March 2000, Demos opened its first office in New York with Heintz as President. In this first year, Demos' work focused on solving economic inequities and increasing civic participation by developing a more inclusive democracy. These two areas continue to be a large part of Demos' core work.

In 2001, Heintz stepped down and was replaced by Miles Rapoport, Connecticut legislator (1985–94) and Secretary of State (1995–98).

In March 2014, Rapoport left Demos to become the President of Common Cause.[4] Heather McGhee, formerly the Vice President of Policy and Outreach, became President of Demos.[5] McGhee is now a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos. In 2018, Demos named Sabeel Rahman as the new president.

Voting rights[edit]

Demos was part of a settlement in a lawsuit, filed in 2005, alleging Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, Governor Bob Taft, and their predecessors failed to protect the fundamental rights of eligible Ohio voters to cast a meaningful ballot, as required by the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.[6] The settlement was binding and required the state to provide for uniformity and consistency in Ohio election procedures so that the opportunity to vote can be enjoyed equally by all Ohio citizens.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Demos FY2018 Form 990" (PDF). Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  2. ^ E.g.,
  3. ^ "About Demos - Demos".
  4. ^ "Former Connecticut Secretary of the State Miles Rapoport to lead Common Cause". 14 January 2014.
  5. ^ Dick, Jason; Dick, Jason (28 January 2014). "Meet the New Boss at Demos - Downtown Moves". Roll Call.
  6. ^ a b Rosenfeld, David (November 8, 2011). "Righting the Voting Income Gap". Pacific Standard. Retrieved July 5, 2016.

External links[edit]