THE WASHINGTON POST – BOSTON — So you’re Tim Scott, the Republican senator from South Carolina who opposes Roe v. Wade and wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and you get a call from Chris Evans, a Hollywood star and lifelong Democrat who has been blasting President Trump for years. He wants to meet. And film it. And share it on his online platform. Can anybody say “Borat?”
“I was very skeptical,” admits Scott. “You can think of the worst-case scenario.”
But then Scott heard from other senators. They vouched for Evans, most famous for playing Captain America in a series of films that have grossed more than $1 billion worldwide. The actor also got on the phone with Scott’s staff to make a personal appeal.
It worked. Sometime in 2018, Scott met on camera with Evans in the nation’s capital, and their discussion, which ranged from prison reform to student loans, is one of more than 200 interviews with elected officials published on “A Starting Point,” an online platform the actor helped launch in July. Not long after, Evans appeared on Scott’s Instagram Live. They have plans to do more together.
“While he is a liberal, he was looking to have a real dialogue on important issues,” says Scott. “For me, it’s about wanting to have a conversation with an audience that may not be accustomed to hearing from conservatives and Republicans.”
Evans, actor-director Mark Kassen and entrepreneur Joe Kiani launched “A Starting Point” as a response to what they see as a deeply polarized political climate. They wanted to offer a place for information about issues without a partisan spin. To do that, they knew they needed both parties to participate.
Evans, 39, sat on the patio outside his Boston-area home on a recent afternoon talking about the platform. He wore a black T-shirt and jeans and spent some of the interview chasing around his brown rescue dog.
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Nearly 100 million people didn’t vote in the 2016 general election, Evans says. That’s more than 40 percent of those who were eligible.
He believes the root of this disinterest is the nastiness on both sides of the aisle. Many potential voters simply turn off the news, never mind talking about actual policy.
“A Starting Point” is meant to offer a digital home for people to hear from elected officials without having the conversation framed by Tucker Carlson or Rachel Maddow.
“The idea is . . . ‘Listen, you’re in office. I can’t deny the impact you have,’ ” says Evans. “ ‘You can vote on things that affect my life.’ Let this be a landscape of competing ideas, and I’ll sit down with you and I’ll talk with you.”