Fixing American Politics : Solutions for the Media Age book cover
1st Edition

Fixing American Politics
Solutions for the Media Age

Edited By

Roderick P. Hart

ISBN 9781003212515
Published November 29, 2021 by Routledge
298 Pages

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

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

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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