How Do We Fix It?

How Do We Fix It?

From politics to the personal, we're about solutions. Our weekly podcast features two friends and longtime journalists. Join Richard Davies (ABC News) and Jim Meigs (Popular Mechanics) as they challenge authors, experts and provocateurs in a search for positive, practical ideas. Guests include Alan Dershowitz, a noted legal scholar and defender of civil liberties; Mike Rowe of "Dirty Jobs" and Lenore Skenazy, founder of "Free Range Kids." Topics include politics, parenting, personal finance, human behavior and much more. "How Do We Fix It?" - a repair manual for the real world. Produced by DaviesContent Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


May 17, 2024 33 mins

Liberalism is out of fashion. You might say that it's under siege. From the populist right to the progressive left, liberal touchtones of limited government, personal freedom, the rule of law, and a mixed economy have come in for harsh criticism.

Liberalism is assailed by many critics, but it has not failed, argues Yale Political Science Professor Bryan Garsten. "A liberal society is unique in that it offers refuge from the...

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In much of the country local news has collapsed, threatening civic pride and a sense of community for countless towns and cities. This dramatic change has also deepened America's divides.

As our guest, journalist and public policy researcher Anna Brugmann explains in this episode, "the internet disrupted the local journalism model". Newspaper advertising revenue fell 80% since 2000. Thousands of local an...

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Diversity equity and inclusion: Sounds like a good thing in an incredibly diverse country such as ours, especially when teaching young people at American colleges and universities.

But the DEI industry - or DEI Inc. — has arguably gone off the rails. There’s a big difference between the intentions behind a lot of diversity training and the results. We learn about the crucial difference between training and education, a...

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News coverage of Super Tuesday and other party primaries focused mainly on base voters— Democrats and Republicans. But most Americans are actually on the political sidelines or somewhere in the middle. Many have a mix of conservative and liberal views.

This episode is about them. Our guest is Shannon Watson, the Founder and Executive Director of Majority in the Middle. Her Minnesota-based non-p...

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Only four-in-ten Americans say they have a lot of trust in the news media. That's a big problem for our democracy, especially in this volatile presidential election year. While journalists are supposed to tell the truth and get the story right, just 35% of right-of-center voters have some trust in what they see on the news.

Democrats and independents are much more likely to trust journalists, but America...

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What is the point of a good education? Do we need it to learn a narrow set of skills ro help us get ahead in the workplace, or should knowledge and learning to be used over a lifetime to acquire wisdom that enables us to think more deeply about our place in the world?

This question has profound resonance at a time of angry divides over American politics and moral ...

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January 12, 2024 26 mins

From the economy and prospects for a Biden vs Trump rematch to the future for global energy and artificial intelligence, Richard and Jim make their forecasts for 2024. 

And we re-visit our predictions from exactly a year ago and report on precisely how we did. "It's sort of like weather forecasters and opinion pollsters going back and owning up to their mistakes," says Richard. "I mean, who often do we see that!"

Once ag...

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We continue our discussion with Yascha Mounk, one of the leading public intellectuals of our time. The subject is a hugely influential ideology that attempts to put racial, sexual and gender identity at the center of our social, cultural and political life. The "identity synthesis", Mounk argues, denies that members of different groups can truly understand one another and this stifles public discourse.

In this podcast episo...

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Having skewered right-wing populism and its demagogues in his two previous best-selling books, politics professor, writer, and podcaster Yasha Mounk turns now to the threat posed to liberalism from those progressives who champion "woke" identity politics. We discuss his latest, "The Identity Trap: A Story of Ideas and Power In Our Time."

This episode— the first of two with Yasha Mounk — looks at the complex roots of a ...

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Yes, it's our 400th episode. But instead of looking back over the past eight-and-a-half years of our podcasts, we consider the future: How collective optimism or pessimism can have a huge impact on the economy, risk taking, and the acceptance of new technologies that spark growth and innovation.

Our guest is scholar and journalist James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute, author of "Th...

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Affective polarization in America – the gap between voters' positive feelings about their own political party or "side" and negative feelings toward the opposing party – has sharply increased during the past two decades.

We speak with two leaders in local government and a nationwide students group about effective ways to bridge divides. 

Erica Manuel is CEO and Executive Director at the Institute for Local Gove...

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It's easy to look at the impacts of rigid polarization and blame our leaders and political parties, the media, or the education system. In this episode, we hear an argument that the first thing all of us should do is focus on what we can control: ourselves. We discuss how to learn to live with others despite deep divisions. 

All democracies need protests and debates to flourish. But we also need to respect ourselv...

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Destructive conflict aims to destroy the other side. But constructive conflict can be a force for good.

In this episode we learn how good conflict helps move people beyond polarization, slogans, and angry tweets to a place where they can connect and grow— even as they strongly disagree. Hélène Biandudi Hofer says that when we have the vocabulary an...
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Almost everyone has an opinion about the impact of social media on political polarization. Most of us believe that Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, YouTube and other sites have made our civic life more angry and divided. But how much of this is true? Are consumers as much to blame as the platforms themselves?

15 years ago, in the very early days of social media, many Americans had a much more positiv...

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September 22, 2023 26 mins

Have you ever been asked by a political opponent to describe what's wrong or weak about your own side's arguments? That's what Richard and Jim do here. This episode could have been ripped from a Braver Angels training seminar, but to our knowledge, no other podcast has tried this before.

Liberal-leaning Richard takes on three hot topics, picked by Jim, where the left is wrong. Jim does the same thing for...

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Why is American politics so dysfunctional? Is it because we are too polarized or too fragmented? Throughout this fall we will be exploring different aspects of polarization— arguably the most important threat to both effective governance and a stable democracy. 

This episode includes an edited recording of a lively conversation from the podcast, "Politics In Question", between Rick Pildes, Professor of Constitutio...

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Toxic polarization is "the problem that eats all other problems... It's the sludge at the base of everything else," our guest Mónica Guzmán tells us. In this really useful repeat episode from 2022, we learn how to fight back against the confusion and heartbreak of living with rigid divides.

This show is a curtain raiser for a series we are doing this fall with funding from Solutions Journalism Network. W...

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Why aren’t Democrats doing much better in elections for Congress and also in state races? We explore several reasons. One is that Democrats have been losing the support of many black, white and hispanic working class voters. We heard a forceful argument about that in "How Do We Fix It?" episode #389 with Ruy Teixeira.

In this show we expand the argument and look at another group of voters often ignored by Democrat...

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Globalization, technology, devastating impacts from the foreclosure crisis and the opioid addiction have wreaked havoc on communities left behind by the modern economy. Some of these discarded places are rural. Others are cities or suburbs. Some vote blue, others red. Some are the most diverse communities in America, while others are nearly all white, all Latino, or all Black. 

In this episode we visit four cities and ...

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Why do we connect emotionally with some places and not others? Why does that matter? What does loving the place you live in have to do with healing the partisan divide? We explore these questions and hear about solutions from author, researcher and speaker Peter Kageyama.

This shared episode is an edited version of a podcast released earlier this year by "Village Squarecast". Our show includes extracts from a speech deliver...

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