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America Today - Civility Series

NIF identifies recent developments that stifle engagement

By Doug Oplinger Published: July 29, 2013

A National Issues Forums Institute discussion guide spells out several problems that deter citizen involvement in government.

The guide book, called  Political Fix: How Do We Get American Politics Back on Track? poses seven possible sources of frustration, then offers three scenarios for solutions.

Here's a summary of developments, that they say, "if left unchecked, are likely to further weaken the effectiveness of government."

  • The flood of corporate money into American political campaigns.
  • The growing influence of lobbyists and special interest groups.
  • The increasing polarization and rancor of our political discourse.
  • Structural impediments, such as current redistricting laws that limit ballot choices and skew elections results.
  • The “permanent campaign” that encourages lawmakers to focus on short-term gains instead of long-term solutions.
  • Political leaders acting in their own interests rather than serving the public good.
  • The disengagement of ordinary Americans who turn away from politics in disgust rather than getting involved and making their voices heard.
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