According to many commentators, political polarization is at an all-time high in American politics. This volume, edited by Nathaniel Persily, asks leading scholars to weigh in on the nature of polarization, the consequences of polarization, and solutions to polarized discourse and policymaking. While most scholars agree that American politiics is polarized, they disagree on its causes. Is it the changing media landscape? Are voters themselves polarized, or is it decision-makers and political donors who drive ideological extremism? Solutions to Polarization explores many different aspects of polarization, and issues recommendations for improving political dysfunction. Proposals include reinvigorating good government, strengthening parties, increasing transparency in campaign finance, and changing media consumption.
Nathaniel Persily is the James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, with appointments also in the departments of Political Science and Communication.. Prior to joining Stanford, Professor Persily taught at Columbia and University of Pennsylvania Law School, and as a visiting professor at Harvard, NYU, and Princeton. Professor Persily’s scholarship and legal practice focus on American election law or what is sometimes called the “law of democracy,” which addresses issues such as voting rights, political parties, campaign finance, redistricting, and election administration. He has served as a court-appointed expert to craft legislative districting plans for Georgia, Maryland, Connecticut, and New York, and most recently as the Senior Research Director for the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. In addition to dozens of articles (many of which have been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court) on the legal regulation of political parties, issues surrounding the census and redistricting process, voting rights, and campaign finance reform, Professor Persily has edited three books: Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy (Oxford Press, 2008) (with Jack Citrin and Patrick Egan); The Health Care Case (Oxford Press 2013); and Solutions to Polarization (Cambridge Press, forthcoming 2015). He received a B.A. and M.A. in political science from Yale (1992); a J.D. from Stanford (1998) where he was President of the law review, and a Ph.D. in political science from U.C. Berkeley in 2002.