Lee Drutman, senior fellow in governance studies at New America, is a careful analyst of American political institutions. In his latest book, Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop: The Case for Multiparty Democracy in America, he arrives at the startling conclusion that America’s two-party system is problematic not because it constrains voters’ choices but because it creates incentives that drive Americans apart, polarizing them beyond reason.
On this episode of the Braver Angels Podcast, Ciaran O’Connor and Luke Nathan Phillips interview Drutman about his book and the current state of the American political parties in the aftermath of Election Day 2020. They discuss how party factions in American history once provided leavening for our two-party system—and why they don’t work quite as well as they used to. They also discuss the vast array of incentives elected officials and party leaders have to attack each other instead of working together, whether future presidencies and congresses will be subject to the same forces the last few have been, and the unique capacity of the American system to reform itself through trial and error.
Learn more about Drutman’s work: Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop (book), LeeDrutman.org
Twitter: @leedrutman, @ciaranjoconnor, @braverangels