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The holiday season is here but many people across the country may be dreading sitting down with their nearest and dearest— all because of politics. In the first half of this episode, we discuss political differences with a father and daughter who have different ways of seeing the world. Clare Ashcraft and her dad Brian live in Ohio. He’s an engineer and a conservative. She is a liberal-leaning college student. In the second half, we hear from an expert— well-known psychologist Tania Israel, author of “Beyond Your Bubble: How to Connect Across the Political Divide: Skills and Strategies for Conversations That Work." We share a series of smart tips that aim to minimize conflict and maximize cooperation with parents, family and friends. "Let's Find Common Ground" is hosted by Ashley Milne-Tyte and Richard Davies.
Democrats feared and Republicans expected a "red wave" election, but it didn’t happen.  Why was the outcome such a surprise?  Who gets the credit and blame? How do results impact the near-term future? What are the prospects for finding common ground in Congress where both the Senate and House will have razor-thin majorities?  We discuss these questions with two of America’s most experienced political thinkers: Democratic consultant Bob Shrum and Republican strategist Mike Murphy. Both men serve as co-directors of The Center for the Political Future at the University of Southern California.  Mike Murphy is one of the Republican Party’s most successful political media consultants, having handled strategy and advertising for more than two dozen successful gubernatorial and senatorial campaigns. Bob Shrum was once described as "the most sought-after consultant in the Democratic Party," by The Atlantic Monthly. He was the strategist in over 25 winning U.S. Senate campaigns, eight successful races for governor, and numerous campaigns for Congress and statewide offices.
While many American consumers have given up their daily news habit, millions of others are now addicted to rage media— cable news and social media that push sensationalism, groupthink, and tribalism. This trend of "news bubbles" is relatively recent. Over the past 30 years, the decline of many regional newspapers has given way to a new form of slick, easy, and profitable national opinion journalism that caters to narrow segments of the population.  In this episode, we look at the current state of the news industry and ask why the media and news consumers should insist on better journalism. Our guest is Chris Stirewalt, a columnist for The Dispatch, author, and former political editor for Fox News. Chris's new book is "Broken News: Why the Media Rage Machine Divides America and How to Fight Back."
The United States has one of the highest news avoidance rates in the world. Tens of millions of Americans don't read, watch or listen to the news each day. The media are held in low regard by the public. So, is there a better way to report and analyze current events that satisfies readers' interests? We hear from Mark Sappenfield, Editor of The Christian Science Monitor, and Story Hinckley, the paper's National Political Correspondent. We're releasing this podcast less than two weeks before the midterm elections— a time when many news outlets have amped up their coverage, speculated about winners and losers, and put additional emphasis on the nation's deep partisan divides. We discuss evolving news values with The Monitor and how reporters and editors are striving to highlight constructive solutions that unite rather than divide. We also hear about election coverage and why the media need to challenge readers, build trust, and report the news truthfully. In this episode, we mention Common Ground Scorecard— a tool that helps voters learn which elected officials and candidates are seeking common ground on vital issues. The President, Vice President and every Senator, Member of Congress, and governor has a personal rating. Learn more:
Rigid polarization and political division are among the biggest challenges facing our country. Young people often feel that tribalism is better than unity and that conversations across political and cultural divides are impossible. College students Clare Ashcraft, who comes from a conservative background, and Jackson Spencer Richter, who calls himself a committed liberal, are active members of BridgeUSA, a national movement of students working to emphasize the importance of empathy, understanding, and ideological diversity. In this episode we hear about students' personal experience of cancel culture, the impact of social media on Generation Z, and why many young people actually feel that free speech can harm or threaten their safety. We also learn about efforts to find common ground, equip students with skills to find solutions across divides, and build bridges with others of different backgrounds and points of view.
Bridging Divides at Work

Bridging Divides at Work


Polarization is not just a problem for Congress and our political system, it’s also taking a toll in the workplace. Employees are falling out with each other over politics and fiery issues in the culture wars.  Organizations are trying to stem the discord. Some have banned political talk at the office. Others have taken a public stand on an issue of the day in an effort to ‘do the right thing’.  Simon Greer, our guest on this show, says edicts like this won’t help, though more thoughtful approaches can. Simon is the founder of Bridging the Gap, a group that helps college students develop the skills to communicate well across differences. He also consults with organizations who face these same challenges among their workforces. He explains how he went from ‘bomb thrower’ to bridge builder over the course of his career, tells stories from his work with employers and employees, and outlines the very personal reason for his belief in the humanity of the other person.
Our guests on today’s show are part of the school shooting generation. Each grew up with active shooter drills and concerns that their school could be next, concepts that were unthinkable when most of today’s politicians were in the classroom.  Sophie Holtzman and Jackson Hoppe are sophomores at George Washington University. They are also joint vice presidents of their college’s chapter of BridgeUSA, a group that brings students of different ideologies together to have open discussions on political issues.  Sophie, a liberal, and Jackson, a conservative, share stories of being raised in the South, their experiences with guns, and how listening to others’ opinions on the topic is a vital first step to finding common ground.
The primary election season in this midterm election year is now over in most states. Turnout was often very low— less than 20% of registered voters showed up in many places— while the partisan divide was as wide as ever.  In this episode, we hear from leading political strategists, scholars, authors, and journalists about the American system for choosing candidates who will face each other in November's election. We hear criticisms of closed party primaries and look at other ways to pick candidates for public office. Proposals aimed at reducing polarization include the introduction of ranked-choice voting and open primaries, where independent voters, and those who are neither registered Republicans nor Democrats, can participate.  Guests include Former Democratic Party Chair Donna Brazille, ex-Congressmen Will Hurd, David Jolly, and Barney Frank, Domestic Policy Council Director Susan Rice, constitutional law scholar Rick Pildes, author Tony Woodlief, and journalists Salena Zito, Christa Case Bryant, and Story Hinckley.
In US politics bipartisanship is now the exception, not the rule. But the Millennial Action Project is pushing back: it trains young leaders to bridge the partisan divide and work together to solve America’s problems.  In this episode, we meet two members of the Millennial Action Project from opposite sides of the aisle. They are state representatives from Connecticut, Republican Devin Carney and Democrat Jillian Gilchrest. They discuss the joys and challenges of being a local politician at a time when national politics is so divisive. ‘Get to know me’ is something they often say to constituents who judge them solely on the ‘R’ or ‘D’ after their name.  Carney and Gilchrest talk about listening and responding to their constituents, having their own prejudices upended, and how they find ways to agree for the good of their state.
American business can be a force for finding common ground, but large corporations must now answer to a growing array of stakeholders, who often have opposing views on hot-button issues. In recent years, social media has also forced companies to respond immediately to a variety of conflicting demands. We discuss these challenges with Davia Temin, a highly respected marketing and reputation strategist, crisis manager and communications coach. We also learn the ways that business can help contribute to improving public discourse at a time of polarization and political conflict. "I think the landscape is almost unrecognizable for businesses these days, versus ten years ago," Davia tells us. In this episode, we hear about the daily hazards and opportunities for corporate leaders, and get practical lessons on how they can respond to today's changing political, cultural and social landscape. in a clear, caring and authentic voice.
The world is being shaken by a collision of energy needs, climate change, and clashes between nations in a time of global crisis— made much worse by Russia's all-out invasion of Ukraine. Roaring inflation has shocked consumers, the Biden Administration, and other governments around the world.  In this episode we discuss the rapidly growing challenges of national security as well as opportunities for common ground with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Daniel Yergin, one of the world's foremost experts on energy, international politics and economics.   We examine the reasons behind President Biden's latest visit to Saudi Arabia, Europe's rapidly growing dependence on U.S. oil and natural gas, and the changing threats to the West from Russia and China. Daniel Yergin's book, "The New Map: Energy, Climate and the Clash of Nations," led to his selection as Energy Writer of the Year by the American Energy Society
Environmental activist and author Bill McKibben warned the public about the perils of climate change and the damage human activity is causing more than forty years ago. Former South Carolina Republican Congressman Bob Inglis became a climate activist much later, but he is no less passionate. Both differ on politics and who to vote for,  but they agree on the goal of sharply reducing carbon emissions as soon as possible. Inglis and McKibben join us for this episode of "Let's Find Common Ground". They sound the alarm about the need for urgent action.  Bob Inglis is a conservative Republican and a committed believer in free enterprise capitalism and limited government. He’s executive director of, a conservative group that advocates for solutions to climate change. Bill McKibben is a writer and teacher who has dedicated his life to confronting the climate crisis. He has written a dozen books about the environment, is a distinguished scholar at Middlebury College, and leads the climate campaign group Last year Bill launched Third Act, a new campaign aimed at engaging activists over the age of 60
We live in a world of political extremes, with the far right and far left denigrating each other on a regular basis. But could the future lie with politicians who appeal to everyone else?  Our guest on this show says yes. Former CIA agent and Republican congressman Will Hurd of San Antonio won three terms representing Texas’s 23rd district. He was told he could never it because it was bright blue, while he was red. Hurd says he succeeded by engaging with everyone, not just voters who shared all his beliefs. “In the media in Washington DC…moderate means middle of the road,” he says. “But in reality, moderates are the ones that do the hard work and get things done because they're the ones that are having to take a philosophy to people that may not identify with it.” Hurd grew up bi-racial in Texas, which gave him the early experience of finding common ground. In his book American Reboot he outlines how to "get big things done" by focusing on policy, not politics. He also shares his thoughts on what Americans should be worrying about, including losing control of the technology which we use to run our lives.
All too often people in public life talk past each other and assume that all Americans are rigid Republicans or determined Democrats. So what happens when we actually listen and give voters the respect and space they need to explain how their true opinions? On guns, abortion, government spending and even partisan politics, most people may not be nearly as far apart as polling suggests. For more than four years, our guest, entrepreneur and market researcher, Diane Hessan, conducted a remarkable series of conversations with hundreds of voters from all across the country. She checked in with them every week. What Diane found may surprise you, give you hope, and change the way you feel about your fellow Americans.  Diane also has some fascinating insights into the role of business, and how corporations could bridge divides among their workforce and the public at large. Note: Please take our brand new listener survey at We value your feedback.
Every day on social media and cable TV, in newspapers and magazines, we're told that we live in a red-versus-blue world of rigid divides. Our podcast guest, Tony Woodlief, begs to differ. "In reality, most people fall somewhere in the middle, or else have a complex blend of views from both sides of the aisle, Tony tells us. His new book "I, Citizen" uses polling data, political history, and on-the-ground reporting to make the case that party activists and partisans are attempting to undermine the freedom of Americans to govern themselves and make decisions that have a direct impact on their lives.  Many people have fallen for a false narrative promoted by leaders of political parties, academia, media, and government, that we're all team red or team blue, he argues. In this episode, we learn a different perspective and discuss how all of us can find common ground in our local neighborhoods and national discourse.
Kelly Johnston and Rob Fersh disagree strongly on many issues, and voted differently in the 2020 presidential election. But they are friends and “agree on major steps that must be taken for the nation to heed President-elect Biden’s welcome call for us to come together.” Both believe that constructive steps must be taken to help build trust among Democrats and Republicans, despite deep polarization and a firm resistance to bipartisanship from both ends of the political spectrum. They encourage open dialogue between sectors and interest groups whose views diverge in an effort to deal with divisive political discourse. Rob Fersh founded Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, and previously worked for Democrats on the staffs of three congressional committees. Kelly Johnston, also a founding board member of Convergence, is a committed Republican and former Secretary of the U.S. Senate. In this episode of Let’s Find Common Ground, produced in partnership with Convergence, we talk with both Fersh and Johnston about bridge building and why this work is so urgently needed in an era of political gridlock.
We all judge others on how they sound: their accent, their pronunciation, their use of slang. Some of us have been criticized for these things ourselves, mocked because we sound different from those around us. The way we speak can be a source of division. But it doesn’t have to be. In this episode we speak with Jessica Mendoza and Jingnan Peng of the Christian Science Monitor. They host the Monitor’s new podcast Say That Again?, which explores how we sound, how we listen, and how we can come to better understand each other.   Both hosts and guests on this show were once newcomers to the US. We hear some personal stories of how their own voices have affected their experience, and how listening differently can help us all find common ground.
The recent mass shootings in Sacramento, California, and at a subway station in Brooklyn, New York have prompted renewed calls for action on gun control. In this podcast episode, we gain a unique perspective on the raging debate with a former gun industry executive who says the NRA and its supporters have gone too far. Our guest, Ryan Busse grew up around guns— hunting and shooting with his father. He is a proud gun owner, hunter, and an avid outdoorsman, who lives in Montana. But today, Busse says that his industry radicalized large numbers of Americans, and argues it must change before gun violence can be reduced and our nation can heal.  After a successful 30-year career, he decided to retire from the gun manufacturer he worked for, and write "Gunfight", a book that tells the inside story of a little-known industry. In this episode, we learn about Busse's lifelong love of guns and discuss his call for sensible rules of conduct.
Mónica Guzmán is the loving liberal daughter of Mexican immigrants who strongly support Donald Trump. We hear her warm personal story of how Mónica set out to understand what divides America and discovered ways to overcome divisions that hurt our relationships and society. In this episode of "Let's Find Common Ground", we discuss ways to use our own sense of curiosity to have rewarding cross-partisan conversations with colleagues, friends, and family.  Mónica Guzmán is the author of the new book, "I Never Thought Of It That Way". She serves as an advisor to the depolarization organization, Braver Angels. Our interview shows listeners how to cross boundaries and find common ground with others from different viewpoints and life experiences.
The public’s trust in government is near an all-time low. Now some politicians are recognizing that polarization and division in the United States is a threat to how our democracy functions. In this episode, we hear from two members of Congress: One Republican, one Democrat. Representatives Derek Kilmer and William Timmons both work together on the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress and are leading supporters of the Building Civic Bridges Act — a proposal that would fund federal and local efforts to reduce polarization.  We also discuss how bipartisan support for robust measures in response to the invasion of Ukraine may strengthen efforts to improve ties between Members of Congress of both parties.  This effort comes at a critical time. Recent polling has found that about four-out-of-five Americans are very or extremely concerned about America's political divisions. "Let's Find Common Ground", produced for Common Ground Committee, is co-hosted by Richard Davies and Ashley Milne-Tyte.
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Jun 24th


looking at the episode descriptions i see only one sided guests. why not open up to other views? why not have someone on who believes that "black lives matter" is a rascist group? why not have someone on who believes the "climate Crisis" is a joke. why not have someone on to explain why vote by mail is full.of fraud? more view points are always better.

Jul 31st
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