John Dickerson is a correspondent for 60 Minutes. He is also a Contributing Editor to The Atlantic and the host of the Whistlestop podcast and co-host of the Slate Political Gabfest.

Politics in our times

Political scientists Yanna Krupnikov and John Barry Ryan have a piece in the Times: “The Real Divide in America Is Between Political Junkies and Everyone Else.” Those of you who have read The Hardest Job in the World may remember them. I referenced their work on the question of how split we really are. This piece returns to that work.

They also offer solutions:

“How can politics better match the opinions of a majority of Americans? The fact is, it’s not an easy problem to solve. We can try to give the hardened partisans less voice in the news. Featuring people who exemplify partisan conflict and extremist ideas elevates their presence in politics”

I agree, but of course I do. From the solutions section in my book:

When we talk about the presidency, we should stretch for this balance between immutable beliefs and open-mindedness. How? The first step is not to cede ground to the partisans. We are trapped in a time of high partisanship, when so many forces, either through design or error, seek to either separate us or define us by our most agitated members. As we walk to the voting booth or into the public square, politicians, pundits, the press, and social media drive us deep into the woods and rob us of our phones and shoes before abandoning us there. Good luck making it back. We need to know better than to get into the car.

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