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Republican Like Me

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Republican Like Me

How I Left the Liberal Bubble and Learned to Love the Right


15 min read
10 take-aways
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What's inside?

Americans’ unwillingness to break out of their political bubbles puts democracy at risk.

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  • Controversial
  • Eye Opening
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Partisanship is on the rise throughout the United States. Although journalist Ken Stern’s neighborhood welcomes diversity of most sorts, it views political diversity with derision or even outright fear. But are the left and right really so divergent in their views? Stern sought to find out. Over the course of a year spent outside his liberal bubble, he interacted with conservatives across the United States, hoping to gain an honest understanding of their opinions and mind-sets. In so doing, he uncovered the roots of today’s polarization, and he saw how open-minded conversations could help heal America’s great political divide. Stern’s valuable account addresses many controversial topics while calling for critical thinking. The text is likely to make both Democratic and Republican readers prickle – if only in that it refuses the implications of its title: This isn’t a conversion story, but a thought-provoking look at how to understand and perhaps embrace varied views and contexts. getAbstract recommends Stern’s report to readers who want to improve political discourse in an increasingly partisan world.


Evaluate Your Own Bias

Political polarization is on the rise across the United States. In 2012, a poll by the American National Election Studies (ANES) revealed that roughly 80% of voters felt “very coldly” toward the opposite political party – an increase of 20% since 2004.  A 2015 study showed that people were more likely to award a college scholarship to someone from their own party, even when the applicant’s GPA was lower than that of an applicant from the other party. In today’s political climate, voters don’t just disagree with their political opponents. They actively demonize one another and, increasingly, separate into like-minded enclaves where they have little chance of encountering anyone with opposing opinions.

The desire to stay in a partisan bubble springs, in large part, from confirmation bias: the desire to believe only those ideas that confirm your current beliefs. When researchers confront test subjects with proof that one of their political beliefs is not, in fact, true, the evidence increases rather than decreases their faith in their position...

About the Author

Ken Stern is author of With Charity for All and a contributor to the AtlanticSlateVanity Fair and the Washington Post. He is president of Palisades Media Ventures and was CEO of National Public Radio. 

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