Skip to content

Latest Stories

Top Stories

What if the United States is not ripped apart?

What if the United States is not ripped apart?
Getty Images

Anderson edited "Leveraging: A Political, Economic and Societal Framework" (Springer, 2014), has taught at five universities and ran for the Democratic nomination for a Maryland congressional seat in 2016.

What if the United States is not being ripped apart? Before there can be growth, whether you are thinking about the life of an individual, a sports team, a muscle or an entire nation, there has to be tension, conflict, and pain. Otherwise, things are calm, stable, moving along smoothly.

The conventional wisdom is that our country is polarized, progressives at war with conservatives, enraged advocates on opposite sides of the fence on matters ranging from guns and abortion to immigration, to teaching gender identity in middle school, and religious freedom and the rights of the LGBTQ community to purchase products and services from companies of their choice. Moreover, Washington, D.C. is regarded as the microcosm of the enraged citizens fighting in the North, the South, the Midwest, and the West. The political system itself is regarded as broken due to gerrymandering, distrust of politicians, distrust of the judicial system, and the corrupt role money plays in politics.

Although Washington, D.C. is the epitome of polarization, the country actually is not polarized. Gallup reports in almost every month in the past year that between 40 % and 44% of American voters identify as independents. Sure, 60% of the country is polarized, and half of that 60% is very polarized. But 60% of the country is not the country.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

On some of the major policy areas that the polarization narrative features, abortion and guns, majorities of over 60% of the voters are on the same side: There is no close tug of war among the people on the question of whether Roe v. Wade should have been overturned (solid majority says no) or whether the country needs stronger regulation of guns (solid majority says yes), including background checks for anyone who wants to purchase a gun. How could the country be polarized if 40 to 44 American voters out of 100 do not regard themselves as members of the political parties which MSNBC and Fox News tell us represent the American people and are at war with each other?

Now imagine a possible though admittedly not probable future: What if Mr. Trump, wrestling with four indictments, does not make it to the Republican nomination? What if Republican voters pick former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley? Or what if they pick someone out of the purple like swing state Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin as their nominee?

And what if there is a surge of independents who back the centrist ticket for president and vice president that No Labels has threatened to run (though not fund) if the "environment" is right? Democratic West Virginia Senator Joseph Manchin and former Republican Utah Governor Jon Huntsman have been floated as possible candidates. And what if a bold centrist ticket as opposed to a moderate centrist No Labels ticket emerges that draws the support of many independents?

If Trump is sidelined for, say, Haley, and Manchin and Huntsman have the No Labels backing, a bold centrist ticket emerges, and President Biden and Vice President Harris stay in the race and possibly they become bold centrists, then the leading candidates in the race for president would all be speaking from a broadly sensible point of view. The general election would be absent of hatred, viciousness, craziness, and unconstitutional proposals.

Since the rise of information technology, especially the internet and social media, things change faster than ever before. We therefore should not be too surprised if the country takes a turn in a direction away from the pathetic place where it is today.

The odds do not favor this development, but it cannot be assumed that it will not come about.

With about 100 million American adults who do not think of themselves as Democrats and Republicans, and with a recognizable number of dissenters in both parties in Washington, we must admit that the future is open. Trump is not destined to serve a second term in the White House, and he may end up serving time in a federal prison.

The anxiety, the anguish, the fighting, the meanness that we see daily in the news may be the body politic articulating what the extremists and purists believe and feel but not what 40% -- even 50% -- of American adults believe and feel. At the heart of the American experience there is decency, there is respect for the law, there is love of family, and there is hope for the future. We may yet see the independents, the moderates, and the centrists take control of our destiny.

Read More

Rep. Gus Bilirakis and Rep. Ayanna Pressley

Rep. Gus Bilirakis and Rep. Ayanna Pressley won the Congressional Management Foundation's Democracy Award for Constituent Accountability and Accessibility.

Official portraits

Some leaders don’t want to be held accountable. These two expect it.

Fitch is president and CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation and a former congressional staffer.

There is probably no more important concept in the compact between elected officials and those who elect them than accountability. One of the founding principles of American democracy is that members of Congress are ultimately accountable to their constituents, both politically and morally. Most members of Congress get this, but how they demonstrate and implement that concept varies. The two winners of the Congressional Management Foundation’s Democracy Award for Constituent Accountability and Accessibility clearly understand and excel at this concept.

Keep ReadingShow less
Donald Sutherland, Jane Fonda and others on stage

Donald Sutherland (left), Paul Mooney, and Jane Fonda performing in an anti-Vietnam War FTA (Free The Army) show in the Philippines in 1971.

Stuart Lutz/Gado/Getty Images

This young GI met Donald Sutherland in a bygone era. RIP to an original.

Page is an American journalist, syndicated columnist and senior member of the Chicago Tribune editorial board.

News of Donald Sutherland's death at age 88 took me back to a day in 1971 when he was protesting the Vietnam War onstage with Jane Fonda and I was one of about 1,000 off-duty soldiers in their audience.

I hoped, in the spirit of John Lennon's anthem, to give peace a chance.

Keep ReadingShow less
Woman speaking at a microphone

Rep. Lucy McBath is the first lawmaker from Georgia to win a Democracy Awarrd.

Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Surprise: Some great public servants are actually members of Congress

Fitch is the president and CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation and a former congressional staffer.

TheCongressional Management Foundation today announced the winners of the seventh annual Democracy Awards, CMF’s program recognizing non-legislative achievement and performance in congressional offices and by members of Congress. Two members of Congress, one Democrat and one Republican, are recognized in four categories related to their work in Congress.

Americans usually only hear about Congress when something goes wrong. The Democracy Awards shines a light on Congress when it does something right. These members of Congress and their staff deserve recognition for their work to improve accountability in government, modernize their work environments and serve their constituents.

Keep ReadingShow less
Man climbing a set of exterior steps

The author, Miliyon Ethiopis, following a court’s decision to grant his asylum request on June 18.

U.S. immigration court ruling on statelessness could have wide impact

Ethiopis is a co-founder of United Stateless, a national organization led by stateless people.

I feel like I have been born again, after a U.S. immigration court made a remarkable ruling in my “statelessness” case in June. I hope that my case will have significant, broader implications for other stateless people in America.

Being stateless means no country will claim you as a citizen. We don't belong anywhere. Stateless people are military veterans. We are Harvard graduates. We are Holocaust survivors. There are millions of stateless people around the world, and 200,000 such people in the United States.

Keep ReadingShow less
two Black people wrapped in an American flag
Raul Ortin/Getty Images

July Fourth: A bittersweet reminder of a dream deferred

Juste is a researcher at the Movement Advancement Project and author of the reportFreedom Under Fire: The Far Right's Battle to Control America.”

They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—
I, too, am America.”
— Langston Hughes, I Too

On the Fourth of July we celebrated many things: our nation’s independence, our democracy and the opportunity to gather with loved ones who, ideally, embrace us for who we are. Yet, this same nation does not always make room for us to live freely for who we are, who we love, what we look like and how we pray. And it is this dissonance that renders the Fourth of July’s celebration a bittersweet reminder of a dream deferred for many of us.

Keep ReadingShow less