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

By — on / News, Reviews of Books

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.

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. Professor Susskind is also President of the Consensus Building Institute, a not-for-profit organization that provides mediation and dispute system design services to public and private clients worldwide, and is the Program on Negotiation’s Vice-Chair for Education.

Purchase the book online.

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