Ideas to Bridge the Political Divide

Neal Simon and Steven Shafarman have concrete and actionable ideas on how to bridge the large (and growing) ideological divide in present-day America. They have outlined their ideas in new books recently published by RealClear Publishing, a new joint venture established by Amplify Publishing, Gotham Ghostwriters, and RealClear Politics.

Here’s a taste of what Simon and Shafarman believe will fix a broken and hyper-partisan political system.

Contract to Unite America
Business executive and 2018 candidate for United States Senate Neal Simon recently published Contract to Unite America: 10 Reforms to Reclaim Our Republic, a call to purge our political system of corruption and partisan politics. Simon breaks down ten practical ways in which we can restore trust and bipartisan ideals in our political system—from implementing term limits to putting restrictions on campaign financing. One of Simon’s main positions? Ranked-choice voting.

The Skinny on Ranked-Choice Voting
TIME magazine defines ranked-choice voting (RCV) as a system that “allows voters to rank candidates by preference, meaning they can submit ballots that list not only their first-choice candidate for a position, but also their second, third and so on.” The results? Simon told CSPAN that RCV “has done a lot to give voters more choice; it’s done a lot to encourage civility in elections, and you end up with more people elected who represent more of the country.” In Contract to Unite America, Simon argues that RCV provides third-party candidates with a platform and prevents the two-party system from dominating election cycles, ultimately encouraging candidates from different parties to work across the aisle for the sake of their constituents.

According to some experts, here’s how it would work. Say you have a gerrymandered district that is dominated by either Democratic or Republican representatives. With multimember districts under RCV, these areas could instead see a mix of representatives—Democrats, Republicans, and independents. As Simon explains further in Contract to Unite America, “Congress would end up with more Republicans from blue states like New York and more Democrats from red states like Texas.” Meaning, RCV would not only give Democrats or Republicans a chance to represent a new district, but it would also encourage these representatives to work together to serve their shared constituents. Simon believes this is a win-win for politicians and voters.

Our Future
Political advocate Steven Shafarman has been a vocal proponent of universal basic income for more than thirty years. In his upcoming book, Our Future: The Basic Income Plan for Peace, Justice, Liberty, Democracy, and Personal Dignity (June 16, 2020), Shafarman discusses how the implementation of UBI would not only improve the quality of life for all Americans, but would also be a source of common ground for Democrats and Republicans.

The Skinny on Universal Basic Income
Universal basic income (UBI) is exactly what it sounds like—a fixed, guaranteed income for all US citizens. UBI was once thought to be a fringe idea, but yesterday’s fringe idea has become one of the government’s key tools in stimulating the economy during the COVID-19 crisis, garnering bipartisan support. As Shafarman notes in his TED Talk, “The idea is to set some amount, say $1,000 a month, and provide that to every adult citizen.” Citing our nation’s founding fathers, Shafarman argues, “In order to truly secure our inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, basic income is imperative.” But how could this bridge the political divide?

In Our Future, Shafarman notes that funding for UBI could come from cutting government programs that have become superfluous, appealing to the Republican Party, which prefers less government spending. At the same time, UBI would become a government-funded endeavor, appealing to the Democratic Party, which advocates for big government and the social safety net. In Shafarman’s opinion, the long-term effects of UBI have the potential to lead to bipartisan reform, including improved public health and lowered healthcare costs, a surge in job creation, more successful small businesses, and enduring national security. The idea is simple: We the People versus special interests and the status quo. To Shafarman, it’s a no-brainer.


Ranked-choice voting and universal basic income—two big ideas for political diplomacy from even bigger thought leaders. Simon and Shafarman are leading the conversations, and we look forward to hearing what else they have to say during the 2020 election cycle and beyond. And with our partners at RealClearPolitics we’ll continue to provide political experts like them with a platform to share their big ideas.

Interested in learning more about Amplify’s thought leaders? Check out our authors and upcoming releases.

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