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Can Compromise Fix Political Stalemates? Jonathan Haidt & Charles Wheelan
Politics | May 14, 2013

Can Compromise Fix Political Stalemates? Jonathan Haidt & Charles Wheelan

To most of us, the political powers that be might seem so fragmented and divided that there is simply no solution to our broken system. Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind, and Charles Wheelan, author of The Centrist Manifesto, have other ideas. Both politics speakers believe that pragmatism and compromise is possible—and it could save our senate. Partisanship and debate is a healthy—and even productive—component of a democratic society. The ability to promote an agenda that may not fall in line with the norm allows for new problems to be addressed and outside-of-the-box solutions to be reached. The problem, currently, is that neither of the big two parties in power are willing to even hear the views of their opponent.

That's where Haidt comes in. In his book, he stresses the importance of understanding why people think the way they do. And, why they hold fast and true to the views they have. You may never completely agree with an opposing point of view to your own. You can, however, make the effort to understand why your opposition thinks a certain way, and find some sort of middle ground. Right now, both parties disagree with the other simply because they are the other. However, Haidt argues that they must be willing to at least hear opposing viewpoints if we are ever going to move forward. Doing so eliminates the combative and competitive nature of today's hyper-partisan politics, and allows each side to try to work together instead of constantly butting heads.

In Wheelan's new book, The Centrist Manifesto, he proposes a structural change to the current political system. In fact, he proposes that an entirely new party (the Centrist Party) be developed to combine views from the left and the right end of the political spectrum. While this party may not realistically be in the running for a Presidential bid, they can, and will, shake up the Senate. And this, Wheelan says, will help address a greater range of constituent concerns which often go unresolved due to a political stalemate between parties. In a new Salon article, a section of his book is featured that shows exactly how this centrist party can bridge the gaps between Democrats and Republicans:

"The combination of sensible economic policies and a progressive approach to social issues will peel voters away from both parties. From the Republicans, the Centrist Party will dislodge the economic conservatives who have zero interest in the right-wing social agenda but cannot bring themselves to support the Democrats’ populist and undisciplined approach to taxes, regulation, and fiscal policy.

From the Democrats, the Centrist Party will dislodge the voters who respect small government and fiscal responsibility but cannot bring themselves to support the Republicans’ heavy-handed, right-wing social agenda.

Pragmatic moderates will no longer have to tolerate the crazies in their own party because they consider them to be less scary or offensive than the crazies in the other party. Far from being a collection of insolvable stumbling blocks, social issues have the potential to be a defining strength of the Centrist Party."
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