Making America Work
How we can break the grip of destructive polarization and create a government that works for us all
In the wake of the convulsive 2016 election, there may be no more pressing question. Nor will 2016 likely be the last such eruption. American politics has stagnated for years, locked in arid debate on old ideas. Political parties have become increasingly tribal. Elections are drenched in money and marked by intense polarization. Government dysfunction has created an opening for racially divisive backlash politics while ignoring long-range economic, social, and environmental challenges. Until we reckon with that public discontent, we’ll continue to be entangled in the same battles we’ve been fighting for decades.
It is time for fresh thinking, which is why the Brennan Center for Justice has produced Solutions 2018, a series of three reports setting out democracy and justice reforms that are intended to help break the grip of destructive polarization.
In Democracy, we lay out proposals to ensure free and fair elections and curb the role of big money in American politics. In Criminal Justice, we examine how we can end mass incarceration. And in Liberty & National Security, we make recommendations on how to protect constitutional freedoms, vulnerable communities, and the integrity of our democracy amid new threats.
We hope these proposals are useful to candidates, officeholders, activists, and citizens. The 2018 election should be more than a chance to send a message. It should be an opportunity to demand a focus on real change.
What counts is not what we are against, but what we are for.