Michael Baranowski is the founder and one of the hosts of the popular podcast The Politics Guys. The podcast is a place for bipartisan, rational, and civil debate on American politics and policy. We discuss why civil dialogue is critical in a democracy, the value of keeping an open mind, and the relative strength of our institutions and electoral system.
Agreeing on the basic fundamentals
The need for positive, bipartisan discourse is acute. In today’s politically charged environment, it’s important to disagree in a constructive and civil way. The first step in good-faith dialogue is to start by finding fundamental policies or values you both agree on and build on them. In fact, most Americans hold the same ideals, but value them differently. Mike and his conservative co-host Jay both value justice and freedom, though to different degrees. Since they both agree justice and freedom are important, fair and rational debate becomes much easier. Equally important are the ability to keep an open mind, and to be able to see and understand other perspectives.
The System is Working
The Trump Administration is undeniably attacking institutions in a way that we’ve never seen from the executive branch before. While this is deeply worrying, the good news is that our system appears to be bearing the brunt of his attacks well. For instance, the election process worked in 2018, giving Democrats the House, which in turn led to renewed scrutiny and accountability in the form of impeachment. Many of Trump’s promises have not been enacted because parts of our governmental system have worked correctly and stopped them. Trump has been frustrated in many areas, just as his predecessors were. The fact that all presidents cannot achieve all of their goals is a sign that the system is working and continues to work.
Returning Debate to the Center
Our media landscape often showcases the two political extremes as the dominant modes of American political thought. While this helps ratings, it is not the case. Most Americans fall somewhere in the middle of the political spectrum, where there is much overlap and common ground to be found. They are not deeply ideological, and are not interested in big things, whether that’s a massive wall or a complete remaking of the American health care system. Healthy political discourse needs to keep in mind that policy options should serve the majority of the country, and not just the ten percent of extreme voters on either side. By elevating these center-oriented voices, bipartisan debate becomes easier, and solutions are easier to create.
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Michael Baranowski is a political scientist with a Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky. His focus is on American political institutions, public policy, and media. He is a co-founder of the Politics Guys and serves as one of the show’s liberal hosts.
The Politics Guys is a podcast for bipartisan, rational, and civil debate on American politics and policy. It features independent and bipartisan political commentary, as well as interviews with liberal and conservative experts and policymakers. The Politics Guys strives to balance liberal and conservative voices equally.
You can follow the Politics Guys on Twitter @PoliticsGuys