According to a recent Marist/NPR/PBS NewsHour poll, the proportion of Americans who think the nation is on track is at its lowest point in twenty years.
A mob descended on the U.S. Capitol in a literal attempt to overthrow an election. And, thousands of Americans took to the streets this summer to protest longstanding police violence against Black and Brown Americans.
But, skepticism of the government didn’t start with President Trump’s attacks on the Deep State or his claims of voter fraud. Distrust of the police didn’t begin with the murder of George Floyd. And, mistrust of corporate and business leaders wasn’t created by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
So, how long have we been here, how did we get here, and is there any hope that we can find resolution? Amy talks with Jamelle Bouie, opinion columnist at The New York Times and Yuval Levin, the director of Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the Editor in Chief of National Affairs about how to restore the faith.
Another big issue just around the corner is redistricting. For the past four years, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee has been preparing for the 2021 redistricting process. They’ve sued against gerrymandered maps of the last decade, educated people about the redistricting process and built grassroots infrastructure. But democrats had a tough year in 2020 at the State Legislative level. We speak with Kelly Ward Burton, Executive Director at National Democratic Redistricting Committee about how things have changed since the last redistricting in 2011.
The Republican counterpart to the NDRC is the National Republican Redistricting Trust. Like the Democrat's group the NRRT is also hard at work planning for what's to come. Adam Kincaid is the group's president and executive director, weighs in on their strategy and priorities throughout the mapmaking process.
Not all states redistricting efforts are lead by lawmakers. In recent years a number of states have made attempts to strip politics out of the redistricting process by removing the mapmaking power from the legislature and handing it over to an independent commission. California formed it's first independent commission back in 2010. Paul Mitchell, owner of Redistricting Partners explains how commissioners in The Golden State are chosen. And Amy sits down with Jane Andersen and Sara Sadhwani, two of the newly minted members to hear about their expectations for the process.
Amy's final take:
Here’s one more thing from me: We started this hour talking about the eroding faith in American institutions and ended the hour hearing from two California women - one Republican and one Democrat - who believe that they can make a difference in shaping our democracy. Two regular people - with busy lives and other responsibilities tugging at them - decided that their voice mattered.
Yuval Levin said that hope, more than optimism, is what keeps him engaged in the work of trying to heal our nation’s divides. Optimism implies that all will turn out ok. Hope is the acknowledgement that it might not. But, without it, we are just stuck in a cul-de-sac of cynicism - always looking for someone else to blame instead of figuring out ways to be part of the solution.
It’s not that our institutions have failed, as much as our leaders have failed them. The church leaders who didn’t protect vulnerable children; the politicians who have abused the public trust; the corporate CEO who put profit over his own workers safety.
If you want to fix our institutions, then be prepared to take ownership of the ones in which you are a part. Be prepared to put the greater good of that institution ahead of your personal needs and desires. Be willing to believe that those who have different ideas can be allies and not just enemies.