**FILE** Trump supporters lead protests that some believe could endanger democracy in America. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)
**FILE** Trump supporters lead protests that some believe could endanger democracy in America. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)

Many have documented the peril in which American democracy finds itself during this post- and possibly pre-Donald Trump era. 

Now, The Pulitzer Center wants journalists to uncover all threats to U.S. democracy, offering grants for newsrooms and reporters to step up and expose such menacing.

Officials are seeking proposals for enterprise stories that focus on threats to democratic institutions in the United States. 

Topics can include, but are not limited to, voting suppression; misinformation and disinformation; intimidation of election officials; politicization of election systems; political violence; dark money; and extremism/militias.

“We value data, investigative, and accountability journalism projects that tackle systemic issues and hold to account powerful local figures,” officials wrote in a release.

They said all journalists, including freelancers and independents, are welcome to apply for grants.

“You decide what underreported stories your community needs to engage with, and we support that reporting and champion it, including creating educational materials and organizing events to expand the reach of your stories and the conversation about them,” officials wrote.

“As a scholar, I feel challenged in bringing the normal paradigms and theoretical frameworks we rely on in political science to understanding the conditions that we face right now in the U.S because so many of the assumptions that typically ground our thinking have been upended,” political scientist Claudine Gay told the Harvard Gazette earlier this year.

Gay, the Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Wilbur A. Cowett, professor of government and African and African American studies, said it all crystallized for her as she witnessed the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. 

“Here was a moment when thousands of people turned against American democracy itself, choosing violence as the way to achieve their aims,” Gay said. “I thought a threat that profound would shock and unify us. But it, instead, has generated as polarized a response as any other issue or event. 

“That reality has disrupted my thinking and it forces us all in the discipline to consider anew the basic norms, values and institutions that we’ve taken for granted as stable (and stabilizing) features of American political life,” she said.

Earlier this month, ABC News reported that sporadic and groundless claims of widespread election fraud had been made since the country’s founding but in modern times they have never been made more consistently.

The news outlet noted that polling suggests a full third of the electorate thinks President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory was illegitimate. Much of it is tied to Trump, experts say, after he made the fraud claims a litmus test for GOP candidates and the heart of his platform.

“And while there have been decades-long disputes over how relaxed or restrictive voting should be – flaring during the civil rights movement, for example – experts say the lack of faith in today’s elections and state legislatures’ efforts to clamp down on access to the ballot is unique,” the outlet concluded.

It’s among the reasons The Pulitzer Center aggressively seeks journalists and newsrooms to uncover and report on threats to American democracy.

To apply, officials ask candidates to describe a proposed project in no more than 250 words, a preliminary budget estimate that includes a basic breakdown of costs and a compelling distribution plan.

Applicants typically will receive a response within two weeks.

“We aim to support teams that reflect the communities they report on. We hope this grant can help our partner organizations advance their diversity, equity and inclusion goals and commitments,” Pulitzer Center officials wrote. 

To apply, go to https://pulitzercenter.org/grant-application.

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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