Polarization: My Side Is Wrong. Jim & Richard

Have you ever been asked by a political opponent to describe what's wrong or weak about your own side's arguments? That's what Richard and Jim do here. This episode could have been ripped from a Braver Angels training seminar, but to our knowledge, no other podcast has tried this before.


Liberal-leaning Richard takes on three hot topics, picked by Jim, where the left is wrong. Jim does the same thing for his side, discussing three examples picked by Richard.


The ground rules are simple: No "your-side-ism". When describing the failings of their own side neither host was allowed to criticize their opponents. If they do, a loud bell rings. Listen to find out how many times the darn thing goes off!


The six topics are: 

- Liberals try to do too much and as a result their policies backfire. 

- Conservatives fail to challenge populism, Donald Trump, and stand up for democracy. 

- The left hugely underestimates the cost of their spending programs. 

- The right ignores the huge increase in public debt. 

- Liberals are too quick to decide that anyone who disagrees with them is not only misinformed but evil. 

- Too many Conservatives deny the reality of climate change.


One big failure in American politics is that neither side understands the other. Both Democratic and Republican voters have major misconceptions about what supporters of the other party actually believe. This weakens the arguments of both, and has a dire impact on public policy making and the quality of debates.


Issues discussed by Richard and Jim include homelessness in California, recent changes in the Republican Party, the alarming rise in government deficits and debt, and the changing nature of the conservative debate over climate.

Among articles mentioned in this podcast are Jim's writing about The New Green Right and Against The Wind about problems with wind energy and coverage about homelessness in The Atlantic and New York Times.


Recommendation: Richard read the new book by Richard Haass: "The Bill of Obligations— The Ten Habits of Good Citizens".


This podcast is the third episode of our series on American polarization funded in part with a grant from Solutions Journalism Network.


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