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Political Polarization Conclave: Recommended Reading

The Conclave on Political Polarization
Hosted by Esalen and the Institute of Cultural Evolution
October 5 – 8, 2014

List of Recommended Reading

Monday Morning – 9:30 to 10:45

Our Political Systems – What Went Wrong and How to Fix Them (Conversation starters: Tom Mann and Norman Ornstein)

Book to read:
It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism by Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein (New York Times bestseller)

Monday Morning – 11:00 to 12:15

The Psychology of Partisanship and Righteousness, and A Few Shreds of Hope for Fostering More Civil Disagreement (Conversation starter: Jonathan Haidt)

Book to read:
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt (New York Times bestseller) – Per Jonathan, you can skip or skim Chapters 3, 6, 9, 10, and 11.

TED talk to view:
The moral roots of liberals and conservatives
How common threats can make common (political) ground

Monday Afternoon – 4:00 to 5:15

How Did the Party System Hijack Our Democracy? How Do the People Regain Our Country? (Conversation starter: Mickey Edwards)

Book to read:
The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans By Mickey Edwards

Video to watch
Mickey Edwards urges Congress, before party affiliation be ‘an American first

Monday Afternoon – 5:00 to 6:00

The New American Electorate: Partisan, Sorted and Polarized (Conversation starter: Alan Abramowitz)

Book to read:
The Polarized Public: Why American Government Is So Dysfunctional by Alan I. Abramowitz

Paper to read:
Book Summary: "The Disappearing Center by Alan Abramowitz"

Monday Evening – 7:45 to 9:30

Polarization and Cultural Evolution: Strategies for Depolarizing the American Mind (Conversation starters: Steve McIntosh and Carter Phipps)

Paper to read:
"Depolarizing the American Mind” by Steve McIntosh and Carter Phipps

Tuesday Morning - 9:30 to 12:30

A Vision of the Future of Government and How a Diversity of Ideologies Can Work Together to Move the Country Forward

Book to read:
Independent Nation: How Centrism Can Change American Politics by John Avlon

Papers to read:
"Modernizing Conservatism” by Steven Hayward
"Modernizing Liberalism” by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus

Other Recommend Readings

An interactive graphic
The historical trend of increasing ideological polarization and party unity, from 1857 to 2012   

The American history of balancing between individualism and communitarianism
Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent by E.J. Dionne Jr.

Reclaiming Conservatism: How a Great American Political Movement Got Lost and How It Can Find Its Way Back by Mickey Edwards
A Conservative Vision of Government” by Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner

The partisan Supreme Court
Split Definitive: How Party Polarization Turned the Supreme Court Into a Partisan Court” by Neal Devins and Lawrence Baum

The role of Media
The Outrage Industry” by Jeffrey Berry and Sarah Sobieraj

Polarization and income inequality
Polarized America: The Dance of Ideology and Unequal Riches by Nolan McCarty, Keith T. Poole, and Howard Rosenthal
(There is a review that provides a summary of each chapter of the above book by Werner Troesken on The Independent Institute website.)

Other books and articles on polarization
Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class by Ian Haney Lopez
Wicked Polarization” by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus
The Stennis Fellows Report: Moving Beyond Political Polarization
The Polarization Paradox: Why Hyperpartisanship Strengthens Conservatism and Undermines Liberalism” by Matthew Nisbet and Deitram Scheufele
Political Polarization in the American Public” by PewResearch, June, 2014


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