Democracy Works: Is Common Ground Hiding In Plain Sight?

Nov 16, 2020

Will Friedman
Credit Public Agenda

Despite increasing partisan polarization, voters in the 2020 election agreed on ballot initiatives on a $15 minimum wage in Florida and marijuana legalization in several states. Our guest this week would say this is an example of the hidden common ground that exists among everyday citizens but is obscured by political parties and media pundits.

Will Friedman is president of Public Agenda, a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and public engagement organization that strives to strengthen democracy and expand opportunity for all Americans. One of the organization's major projects is the Hidden Common Ground Initiative, which challenges the increasingly dominant narrative of a hopelessly-divided America by identifying and elevating the areas and narratives where Americans agree on solutions to politically-polarized issues, and by fostering productive dialogue on those areas where we truly disagree.

This work, along with the Hidden Tribes initiative, Common Ground Committee, and others begs the question — if this common ground is already prevalent in our society and our democracy, then why is it hidden? We explore that question in this episode and ask how to work toward common ground in a way that does not simply maintain the status quo.