What steps could be taken to bring the current extreme political ideologies on both sides somewhat back to the center?

I think that’s actually pretty simple. Here are a few things that would help roll back extremist influence in society very quickly:

1) Reinstate and vigorously enforce The Fairness Doctrine in all news media — including social media (which, really, is just another platform for news media propagation). This would greatly reduce propaganda news outlets at both ends of the spectrum.

2) Reverse the divisive rules changes in DC that have prevented bipartisan dialogue and compromise: Abolish the Hastert Rule in the House; reverse Gingrich’s three-day work week and return it to five days, encouraging members of Congress to remain in DC and foster cross-the-isle relationships (this is what Gingrich wanted to destroy…and it worked); and so on.

3) End gerrymandering and voter disenfranchisement. When large numbers of folks feel like their views and priorities are not represented by elected officials, they become more extreme in their views.

4) Increase direct democratic controls over ALL legislation (via referenda, etc.) up to and including at the federal level, and allow recall elections for ANY misbehaving elected officials (all the way up to US Senators). More effective and immediate democracy is a great mitigator of extremism — at least it tends to be over time.

5) Completely ban all special interest lobbying and enact sweeping campaign finance reform (for example, allow only public funding of campaigns).

6) Institute a public Information Clearinghouse of reviewed and rated information that helps folks navigate complex issues in order to vote on them in an informed way.

I’ve offered some additional ideas here: L7 Direct Democracy

And if these are simple ideas, why haven’t they happened? Why, indeed, have they been vigorously opposed? Well, because the neoliberal plutocrats who hold most of the power are quite happy to perpetuate division and extremism to manipulate voters and legislators into doing their bidding. It’s very transparent, and has been going on for a long time in the U.S. and elsewhere.

My 2 cents.


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