Bloomberg Editor Frank Barry: 'We've Designed a Government for Dysfunction, Polarization, and Extremism'

Frank Barry
Created: 24 June, 2024
Updated: 26 June, 2024
2 min read

Bloomberg editor and author Frank Barry bought an RV and drove across the Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental highway to connect the coasts, to explore the diverse landscape and people of the United States. 

He wrote about his experiences in his new book, "Back Roads and Better Angels: A Journey into the Heart of American Democracy."

Barry sat down with Foward Party Co-Founder Andrew Yang and talked about the people he talked to in his journey.

The conversations didn't always start with politics, but they tended to steer in that direction. And as he met with people from all walks of life, he noticed shared sentiments across the political spectrum.

On the surface, most people are frustrated with America's political divide, but on a deeper level people have more in common than they realize -- and many people are looking to escape tribalism and find their own way. 

The issue is not the existence of the tribes (or parties). The issue is how elections are designed to divide voters and keep them divided and encourage them to deeply entrench themselves in an "us versus them" mentality.

"We are seeing growing support for opening up election processes to let more independents in," he said. "There is a growing awareness that the takeover of the parties by the extremes is terribly bad for the country."

It's the reason nothing gets done in Washington, and while some suggest that the government the US has is a reflection of its voters and thus is the government they deserve, Barry rejects this notion.

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"Lot of cynics say we have the government we deserve. That is their way of looking at this dysfunction -- that it's our own fault," he said. "I think we have the government we designed."

"We have designed a government for dysfunction, and polarization, and extremism, and we can redesign it for cooperation. It can be done."

It starts with how voters elect their representatives. Barry has been an adamant supporter for opening election processes as a start and has made his rounds with better elections groups over the last few weeks -- including Open Primaries. 

Check out the full conversation between Barry and Yang above and learn more about his experience with voters across the nation and the solutions he believes are needed to give voters the government they truly deserve. 

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