How to fix our polarized politics? Strengthen political parties.

by - February 11, 2014

My suggestion is that, if we are looking for solutions, we should re-define the problem of effective governance in our era as one of political fragmentation rather than one ofpolitical polarization.  By fragmentation, I mean the external diffusion of political power away from the political parties as a whole and the internal diffusion of power away from the party leadership to individual party members and officeholders.  It is political fragmentation that makes it that much more difficult, in a political world that rests on polarized parties, for party leaders nonetheless to engage in the kinds of negotiations, compromises, and pragmatic deal-making that enable government to function effectively, at least in areas of broad consensus that government must act in some way (budgets, debt-ceiling increases).  And because of political fragmentation, party leaders in all our political institutions have less capacity to play this kind of leadership role than in many previous eras.  When political fragmentation that makes it that much harder for party leaders to command their parties is added to highly polarized parties, the mix is highly toxic to the capacity of our political institutions to function effectively.


Washington Post: How to fix our polarized politics? Strengthen political parties.

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