New Sample Videos: The Problem with Health Care

Check out Know The System’s two new sample animated videos here. Each is under five minutes in duration and is targeted for the general public.

The overarching thesis is that, while specific policy prescriptions are a good thing, it’s not what voters need to hear about in order for them to understand and (potentially) support reform.

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Ideology or Problem Solving – Which Will It Be?

A review of
Asymmetric Politics: Ideological Republicans and Group Interest Democrats
(Authors: Matt Grossmann and David A. Hopkins)

Grossman and Hopkins have provided a deep dive into the “symbolic conservativism vs. operational liberalism” phenomenon, also explored a few years ago by Ellis and Stimson. Their main thesis—which they hammer over and over in different aspects of the US political world—is that the Republican Party appeals to voters via high ideological arguments, while the Democratic Party appeals to a variety of groups, promising incremental problem solving.

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Potential Solutions to the Polarization Problem

Originally published 10/31/2018 on Arc Digital

There has been great interest among the chattering classes concerning the degradation of our democracy. The topics by now are familiar: political polarization, media fragmentation, the culture of outrage and demonization, conspiracy theories, election meddling, tribalism, populism, fake news, echo chambers, incivility, and so on. In many respects, these are overlapping and intersecting maladies. But by far the most significant effect of our polarized moment is the diminishing ability of Congress to address national challenges.

Some of the commentary on this issue is alarmist; some is purely analytical. Only occasionally are solutions actually suggested, such as legislative proposals, partisan crusades, or attitude adjustments. Let us evaluate a few of the solutions—though, fair warning: skepticism is merited.

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