Many perspectives, 1 simple etiquette

Sen. Sasse: "Rs and Ds Speak to 25% of Americans; What About Everyone Else?"

Created: 12 October, 2017
Updated: 17 October, 2022
2 min read

Republican US Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) responded to a tweet from President Donald Trump over the weekend, in which the president called out the "one-sided coverage" in the media:


Sasse raises an important point. It is not just a one-sided narrative, as the president suggests. The current national narrative is dominated by two private political corporations that only speak to less than a quarter of the voting population.

The rhetoric has gotten so divisive, so extreme because the anti-competitive framework of US elections -- party primaries, restrictive ballot access laws, extreme partisan gerrymandering, exclusive debate rules -- enables the Republican and Democratic Parties to only have to speak to the most partisan members of their bases.

And here is the thing: the bases for both political parties are shrinking, which means the us-vs-them, uncompromising, hyperbolic language on both sides is not only getting worse, it is speaking to a smaller and smaller percentage of Americans.

This was covered in a recent paper by ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy, USC Schwarzenegger Institute, and Independent Voting, called Gamechangers? Independent Voters May Rewrite the Political PlaybookPolitical academia, pollsters, consultants, and the media have kept the national political discussion locked in 1950s, red vs. blue politics.

"That long-held duo control is becoming more tenuous, however, as more voters disassociate themselves with polarizing partisanship and constricting party lines by joining the independent movement — either by action, name or both," said Joseph Garcia, director of communication and community impact for the Morrison Institute for Public Policy, and director of its Latino Public Policy Center.

Most Americans are not represented in the US's political infrastructure -- whether we are talking about Congress, on the campaign trail, national polling, or in the media.

That is why papers like Gamechangers and a recent study from the Harvard Business School that explains just how much the two-party duopoly has crippled competitive elections are so important.