The Cure for Our Broken Political Process: How We Can Get Our Politicians to Resolve the Issues Tearing Our Country Apart

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Overview

Record numbers of Americans fear that our political process is broken—for good reason. Our nation faces unprecedented challenges, yet our politicians spend most of their energy attacking one another. All the while, no one in public life has offered a practical way to neutralize the bitter partisanship that paralyzes Washington.

The Cure for Our Broken Political Process fills that void. The authors show exactly how concerned citizens can get politicians from all camps to negotiate genuine solutions to the most vexing issues. Sol Erdman and Lawrence Susskind base their case on their thirty years of experience in resolving political conflict.

The Cure begins with hard evidence that our country could work out practical solutions to nearly every major issue that now divides us, solutions that all sides could support. Why, then, don’t our politicians seek out those solutions? The authors debunk all the accepted explanations and then uncover the real reason. By telling the story of a concerned citizen who runs for Congress, the book shows that two basic features of our elections virtually compel politicians to bicker endlessly over major problems. So, as long as our elections work as they do today, our lawmakers will keep on fighting, leaving the critical issues unresolved.

The authors then spell out how to redesign elections so that politicians would win only if they produced useful results—only if they negotiated practical solutions to pressing problems. The book concludes with a step-by-step plan proving that ordinary citizens have the power to bring about these changes. To anyone who fears that our country’s future is in peril, The Cure offers a realistic path to a political process they can genuinely believe in.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Just about everyone agrees that the American system of government isn’t working well and that many problems unnecessarily turn into crises before we can muster the will to act. In this daring book, Sol Erdman and Lawrence Susskind carefully dissect the problems with our system and propose a novel way to turn it around. Not everyone will agree that this is the answer, but by making us think about alternatives, the book will help us face up to the dysfunctions that plague our society. Stretch your mind and read this book.”

“A great book, brilliantly written, presenting an intriguing idea that when tested could have great benefits. This is the kind of government we might aspire to in the years ahead.”

“Personally accountable representation is as right for American citizens as it is radical for members of Congress who cozy up to special interests. Every thoughtful voting American who despairs about a political system hobbled by many ills should read The Cure for Our Broken Political Process. Erdman and Susskind lay out a solution that has the potential to benefit every one of us.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597972697
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/31/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Sol Erdman is the president of the Center for Collaborative Democracy, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that has developed innovative ways for citizens and politicians to resolve ideological conflicts.

Lawrence Susskind is the director of the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program. He has mediated national policy debates, refereed regional political battles, and helped negotiate international treaties, including the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.

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Table of Contents

Introduction The Change That Can Transform Our Political Life 1

Pt. I Politics at Its Best

l How Do Outsiders Solve Problems That Politicians Won't? 7

2 How to Resolve Any Issue - as Well as Humanly Possible 15

3 Could Politicians Negotiate the Best Solutions? 27

Pt. II Why Our Lawmakers Betray Us

4 Each Lawmaker's Predicament: Whom Do I Represent? 33

5 How Did American Politics Get So Dysfunctional? 47

6 Each District as Diverse as the Whole United States 53

7 Why Do Most Voters Feel So Powerless? 61

8 While Most of Us Sleep, Congress Does Its Worst 69

9 Does the Current System Threaten Our Survival? 77

10 Big Changes Can Happen 83

Pt. III How to Get Politicians We Can Believe in

11 Make Each Representative Accountable ... for Real 91

12 How Ideologically Diverse Do We Want Our Politicians to Be? 105

13 Cementing the Bond Between Citizens and Lawmakers 111

14 Answering Skeptics 121

15 How America Could Reach Consensus 133

16 Practical First Steps 141

17 A Decade From Now: Our Rejuvenated Democracy 149

18 Epilogue: Back to Here and Now - What You Can Do 155

Appendixes 157

Sources 195

Acknowledgments 201

Index 203

About the Authors 209

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