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What We're Reading: Commission on Political Reform, April 9

The Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC’s) Commission on Political Reform highlights news articles, videos and other relevant works which provide coverage on the partisan political divide and those that promote specific electoral and congressional reforms to help Americans achieve shared national goals. We circulate these articles to provide a broad view of bipartisanship, reforms and reactions. The views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent the views of the commission, its co-chairs, commissioners, or BPC.

Compiled by Abbey Brandon, Eric Larson and Dylan Keller, Communications Intern

A country increasingly polarized by religion

By Michael Gerson, The Washington Post

At the Normandy American Cemetery on the cliff above Omaha Beach, there are rows and rows of crosses and Stars of David. Certainly, many buried there were not religious. But the overwhelming majority of Americans in the mid-20th century identified themselves culturally as Protestants, Catholics or Jews, no matter their personal beliefs.

This cultural expectation has begun fading in American life. The fastest-growing religious affiliation today is the lack of religious affiliation — the rise of the “nones,” as in “none of the above,” who now constitute nearly 20 percent of the population. Read the full article here.

Generation X and Y start to rule politics

By Julian Zelizer, CNN Opinion

The changes that we are seeing in public attitudes about homosexuality are just the tip of the political iceberg. As Bob Dylan once sang, performing to the Baby Boom generation when it was challenging the prevailing political orthodoxies, “something is happening here. But you don’t know what it is. Do you, Mr. Jones?”

America’s political parties would do well to listen to Dylan’s song. There are two new generations of Americans who have entered into their adulthood, now in their late 20s, 30s and 40s, who are starting to become more influential in the electorate. Read the full article here.

Former Sen. Olympia Snowe: It’s Time for Voters to ‘Reward’ Bipartisanship

Video, PBS Newshour

When Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, announced in 2012 that she would not seek re-election, she cited strident partisanship as the main reason to end her 33-year career. Judy Woodruff talks with Snowe more about what prompted her retirement and how she’s working to resolve the bitter divide in American politics. Watch the video here.

Can Design Make Online Debate Less Toxic?

Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan, Co.Design

Artefact, the Seattle-based technology product design studio, is best known for producing brilliant interaction design for wearable technologies and gadgets. But in a recent internal project, called Civic IQ, the team at Artefact is attempting to redesign political discussion in America. What spurred the shift? According to newly made American citizen (and Artefact Principal) Rob Girling, it was frustration with the basic mechanisms of democracy today. “I’ve become cynical,” he explains. “In some ways, American democracy has never been worse than it is now. We’re trying to create tools that let people take on the problems that our leaders appear to be unable to solve.” Read the full article here.

2013-04-09 00:00:00

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