1st Edition

Fixing American Politics Solutions for the Media Age

Edited By Roderick Hart Copyright 2022
    298 Pages
    by Routledge

    298 Pages
    by Routledge

    Fixing American Politics: Solutions for the Media Age brings together original chapters from 34 noted scholars from two disciplines – political science and communication – asked to identify the most pressing problems facing the American people and how they can be solved. Authors address the questions succinctly and directly, with their favored solutions featured in chapter titles that exhort and inspire.

    The book gives the reader much to think about and debate. Should news outlets be funded with public money rather than by private enterprise? Are the new social media a boon or a bane to political elections? Is the American past dead, or is it living once again? Do churchgoers and environmentalists have anything to discuss? Is the FCC doing its job? Can political ads be made less toxic? Should Fox News be "cancelled?" Should cancel cultures be cancelled? Can we become more civil to one another and, if so, how? Fixing American Politics poses all the best questions … and offers some concrete answers as well. This book is perfect for students, citizens, the media, and anyone concerned with contemporary challenges to civic life and discourse today.

    List of Tables

    List of Contributors


    Chapter 1: Make Politics Your Passion

    Roderick P. Hart

    Part 1: Make History Functional

    Chapter 2: Let’s Find a Usable Past

    Jill A. Edy

    Chapter 3: Understand Your Moment in Time

    David A. Crockett

    Chapter 4: Heed the Prophetic Voice

    Theon E. Hill

    Chapter 5: Experiment With Playful Protest

    Tiffany Lewis

    Part 2: Exploit Human Capacities

    Chapter 6: Let Consensus Overcome Polarization

    Marc C. Hetherington

    Chapter 7: Use Emotion Wisely

    Bethany Albertson

    Chapter 8: Explore the Reasons for Incivility

    Emily Sydnor

    Chapter 9: Tell the Story of Poverty

    Eunji Kim

    Chapter 10: Imagine New Political Coalitions

    Vincent N. Pham

    Part 3: Open Your Mind

    Chapter 11: Listen to the First Amendment

    Lisbeth A. Lipari

    Chapter 12: Hear the Presidency Differently

    Vanessa Beasley

    Chapter 13: Fix the "Cancel Culture" Mentality

    Shawn J. Parry-Giles

    Chapter 14: Cultivate Empathy for Outgroups

    Nicholas A. Valentino

    Part 4: Confront the Establishment

    Chapter 15: Counter a Reactive Media System

    Dhavan Shah, Yini Zhang, Jon Pevehouse, and Sebastián Valenzuela

    Chapter 16: Create a Watchdog Branch of Government

    J. H. Snider

    Chapter 17: Modernize Health-Care Decision-Making

    Amy Bunger

    Chapter 18: Give Election Apps More Integrity

    Jessica Baldwin-Philippi

    Chapter 19: Shake Up the FCC

    Bartholomew H. Sparrow

    Part 5: Upgrade Political Campaigns

    Chapter 20: Study the Electorate Thoroughly

    Daron R. Shaw

    Chapter 21: Talk About Voters Thoughtfully

    Sharon E. Jarvis

    Chapter 22: Vote When Voting Really Counts

    John C. Tedesco

    Chapter 23: Make Ads Safe for Democracy

    Glenn W. Richardson Jr.

    Chapter 24: Let’s Outperform Super PACs

    Robert Klotz

    Part 6: Reimagine Traditional Journalism

    Chapter 25: Address Journalism’s Crisis Boldly

    Regina G. Lawrence

    Chapter 26: Measure Newsroom Effectiveness Differently

    Natalie (Talia) Jomini Stroud and Yujin Kim

    Chapter 27: Publicly Subsidize Journalism

    David M. Ryfe

    Chapter 28: Report on Terrorism Responsibly

    Scott L. Althaus

    Chapter 29: Challenge Fox News

    Jeffrey P. Jones


    Chapter 30: Enliven Your Civic Capacities

    Susan Nold


    Roderick P. Hart holds the Shivers Chair in Communication and is Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin, USA. He is also the founding director of the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life based in the Moody College of Communication where he was Dean from 2004–2015.

    Praise for Fixing American Politics

    Fixing American Politics, writes its editor Roderick P. Hart in the opening chapter, ‘is based on two premises: (1) Politics is a terrible thing because (2) only politics can solve our most vexing problems.’ The authors of the subsequent 29 chapters take these premises and, drawing on their collective years of research and practice, run with them – in different directions, but always with insight, passion, creativity, and hope. Hart calls this book ‘distinctive.’ It is to be sure. But it is also timely, needed, and an example of what scholarship is ultimately for.”

    Michael X. Delli Carpini, University of Pennsylvania, USA

    “Hopeful. Provocative. Thoughtful. This lively and accessible collection is all that and more. It speaks to our current distressed moment but advocates, both concretely and audaciously, for ways it could be different. The essays here deserve to be widely read, taught, and debated – on college campuses, in book clubs, and among professionals in journalism and politics.”

    Peter Simonson, University of Colorado Boulder, USA

    “In this timely and important volume, Roderick P. Hart has assembled a collection of essays offering contrasting opinions, assessments, and solutions regarding the twin crises of legitimation and polarization challenging contemporary politics and elections in the United States. The essays include philosophical and historical discussions as well as practical and strategic calls for action, and they cover diverse issues such as political advertising, journalistic practices, civic engagement, and legislative and regulatory reforms. Readers are offered lively and engaging perspectives that will stimulate robust conversations that may help us improve our political deliberations and learn to listen and communicate with each other again.”

    Thomas A. Hollihan, University of Southern California, USA

    Fixing American Politics achieves the elusive Goldilocks standard. Instead of an inflated cure-all or a shallow laundry list, Hart assembles a highly diverse and substantive set of prescriptions for healing our republic. Instead of naive fantasies or complacent band-aids, the proposals embody both passion and perspective. Instead of Cassandra or Dr. Pangloss, we meet sober optimists, ready to guide us through the strong, slow boring of hard boards that is political reform.”

    Michael A. Neblo, Ohio State University, USA