Can we make 2020 something more than a civil war between Democrats and Republicans? That’s the challenge that has inspired this podcast by Lawrence Lessig. Without doubting the urgent need to defeat our current President, Lessig lays out a strategy that leverages the common ground that unites America, to the end of fixing our rigged and broken democracy. Drawing upon the history of other moments of fundamental change in America, Lessig maps a strategy that steps above our partisan divide. It is a moonshot, no doubt. But it is the one shot that could get us beyond the pathological division that destroys our government today. This is the conversation that the politicians won’t give us. And that’s precisely why we citizens must begin it now.
Introducing: Another Way Stories
Anyone paying attention can see that we’re gearing up for a train wreck in 2020, as both political parties map out an increasingly partisan choice for America — as if we are just a nation divided, with nothing that we share in common.
S1E1: Aiming for Something Different
It’s pretty clear how things are going to happen. In January, whatever the outcome in the 2018 election, Democrats are going to begin to vie in earnest to become the party’s nominee for President. There’ll be a gaggle of normal politicians on the left and in the middle, and a handful of billionaires.
S1E2: How Different Has Been Done
There have been critical moments in the history of America when we have come to see that something more than ordinary politics was necessary. Moments when citizens understood that the existing machinery of government was just not up to the task — and when the politicians did something fundamental to fix it.
S1E3: A Different (Kind of Control of) Congress
In the middle of 2016, the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation conducted a massive survey to measure America’s satisfaction with their government. Surprise! Surprise! Not many Americans were very satisfied. Much more surprising was this: the reasons that Americans gave for their dissatisfaction were almost universally the same — regardless of age or sex or geography or, most amazingly, political party.
S1E4: A Different Kind of President
In 1864, in the middle of our “great Civil War,” America held a presidential election. Lincoln was President. None were confident, especially his supporters, that he would be re-elected. Indeed without the gift of a Grant victory at Petersburg, it’s pretty clear he would not have been reelected. The nation was exhausted by war. Most Americans were resolved to peace at any price.
S1E5: How America Beats Donald
I think the answer’s pretty obvious: we would win by stealing Donald Trump’s words while changing their meaning. The campaign to defeat President Trump and to reform this democracy must be led by candidates who make two simple promises: first, drain the swamp; second, make America great again.