Cover art for podcast Let's Find Common Ground

Let's Find Common Ground

77 EpisodesProduced by Common Ground CommitteeWebsite

As the tone of public discourse becomes increasingly angry and divisive, Common Ground Committee offers a healing path to reaching agreement and moving forward. We talk with top leaders in public policy, finance, academe and more to encourage the seeking and finding of points of agreement, and to de… read more

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Why We Misunderstand Independent Voters

January 19th, 2023


Independent voters make up more than 40 percent of the voting public. But you wouldn’t know that from media coverage, which focuses almost …

Local Common Ground: Dinner and a Fight. Simon Miontlake, Ted Wetzel, Tom Hach

January 5th, 2023


Want to know one of the most exciting and innovative ways to find common ground? Get people out of their political bunkers and move them beyond rigid …

The Search for Common Ground: 2022 Year-End Show

December 22nd, 2022


2022 was a year of surprises in politics and the world beyond. In our year-end special, "Let's Find Common Ground" podcast puts the spotlight on six …

Common Ground at Work: From Disaster to Success

December 8th, 2022


Collaboration is seen as a given in working life. Being part of a team means cooperating with others on all kinds of projects. But the reality is few …

Talking with people you love, whose views you don’t. Holiday Special: Brian and Clare Ashcraft & Tania Israel

November 22nd, 2022


The holiday season is here but many people across the country may be dreading sitting down with their nearest and dearest— all because of politics.

In …

Special Episode: Lessons From the 2022 Midterm Elections

November 15th, 2022


Democrats feared and Republicans expected a "red wave" election, but it didn’t happen. 

Why was the outcome such a surprise?  Who gets the credit and …

Broken Media: The Roots of Today's News Crisis. With Chris Stirewalt

November 10th, 2022


While many American consumers have given up their daily news habit, millions of others are now addicted to rage media— cable news and social media that push sensationalism, groupthink, and tribalism.

This trend of "news …

Broken Media: Restoring Trust in News Coverage. Mark Sappenfield and Story Hinckley

October 27th, 2022


The United States has one of the highest news avoidance rates in the world. Tens of millions of Americans don't read, watch or listen to the news each day. The media are held in low regard by the public. So, is there a …

Bridging Divides on College Campuses: Clare Ashcraft and Jackson Richter

October 13th, 2022


Rigid polarization and political division are among the biggest challenges facing our country. Young people often feel that tribalism is better than …

Bridging Divides at Work

September 29th, 2022


Polarization is not just a problem for Congress and our political system, it’s also taking a toll in the workplace. Employees are falling out with …

Two Young Southerners Speak Up on Guns

September 15th, 2022


Our guests on today’s show are part of the school shooting generation. Each grew up with active shooter drills and concerns that their school could …

Primaries and Polarization: Is The Whole System Broken?

September 1st, 2022


The primary election season in this midterm election year is now over in most states. Turnout was often very low— less than 20% of registered voters showed up in many places— while the partisan divide was as wide as …

Millennial Politicians on Finding Common Ground: Jillian Gilchrest and Devin Carney

August 18th, 2022


In US politics bipartisanship is now the exception, not the rule. But the Millennial Action Project is pushing back: it trains young leaders to …

Companies: Crisis and Common Ground: Davia Temin

August 4th, 2022


American business can be a force for finding common ground, but large corporations must now answer to a growing array of stakeholders, who often have …

Energy, Climate, and National Security: The New Map. Daniel Yergin

July 21st, 2022


The world is being shaken by a collision of energy needs, climate change, and clashes between nations in a time of global crisis— made much worse by …

Climate Action: A Progressive and a Conservative Find Common Ground. Bill McKibben and Bob Inglis

July 7th, 2022


Environmental activist and author Bill McKibben warned the public about the perils of climate change and the damage human activity is causing more …

The Crucial Role of Centrists: Will Hurd

June 23rd, 2022


We live in a world of political extremes, with the far right and far left denigrating each other on a regular basis. But could the future lie with …

Our Common Ground: What Polling Doesn't Reveal About Americans. Diane Hessan

June 9th, 2022


All too often people in public life talk past each other and assume that all Americans are rigid Republicans or determined Democrats. So what happens when we actually listen and give voters the respect and space they …

We're Less Divided Than We Think: Tony Woodlief

May 26th, 2022


Every day on social media and cable TV, in newspapers and magazines, we're told that we live in a red-versus-blue world of rigid divides. Our podcast …

Depolarizing America: Building Consensus Step-by-Step. Kelly Johnston and Rob Fersh

May 12th, 2022


Kelly Johnston and Rob Fersh disagree strongly on many issues, and voted differently in the 2020 presidential election. But they are friends and “agree on major steps that must be taken for the nation to heed …

How Our Accents Can Divide and Unite Us

April 28th, 2022


We all judge others on how they sound: their accent, their pronunciation, their use of slang. Some of us have been criticized for these things ourselves, mocked because we sound different from those around us.

The way we …

Guns: Ryan Busse Loves Them But Sees the Need for Limits on How They’re Used & Sold

April 14th, 2022


The recent mass shootings in Sacramento, California, and at a subway station in Brooklyn, New York have prompted renewed calls for action on gun …

Healing Conversations Across Dangerous Divides: Mónica Guzmán

March 31st, 2022


Mónica Guzmán is the loving liberal daughter of Mexican immigrants who strongly support Donald Trump. We hear her warm personal story of how Mónica set out to understand what divides America and discovered ways to …

Bridge Builders in Congress. Reps. Derek Kilmer (D) and William Timmons (R)

March 17th, 2022


The public’s trust in government is near an all-time low. Now some politicians are recognizing that polarization and division in the United States is …

Finding Common Ground on Re-Entry from Prison

March 2nd, 2022


America has the highest rates of incarceration in the world. Once people leave prison the hope is that they’ll be law-abiding, productive members of society. But all too often this isn’t the case – four in ten prisoners …

Protecting American Democracy— The Military's Role: Retired Brigadier General Steven Anderson

February 17th, 2022


What is the military’s role in protecting democracy? The question took on a new sense of urgency in the months after the riot at the U.S. Capitol on …

Black History Month: Achievements, Change, and Justice. Special Episode

February 10th, 2022


Black History Month is a celebration of the remarkable contributions of black Americans to our nation. Some of our guests share their personal thoughts and stories about the lessons of history. We learn about the legacy …

How Problem Solvers Caucus Attacks Gridlock in Congress. Don Bacon & Kurt Schrader

February 3rd, 2022


From the outside, Congress appears broken. Bills get bogged down in partisan fights, leaders openly smear each other, and animosity between members is at an all-time high. But our guests show that if you look closer, …

How The Budget Mess in Congress Hurts All of Us: Alison Acosta Winters & Emily Holubowich

January 20th, 2022


This year the federal government is expected to collect more than $3.5 trillion in taxes— a vast amount of money by any measure. One of the key …

The State of Polarization: 2022. Christa Case Bryant and Story Hinckley

January 6th, 2022


One year after the January 6th assault on the U.S. Capitol, we take a close look at America's political divide with two journalists who covered the …

Change Makers: People Making a Difference. Dave Scott

December 23rd, 2021


In a world of crises and catastrophes, we look at a handful of extraordinary problem solvers: People who use their passion and personal experience of …

Climate Action and the Global Need for Energy. Daniel Yergin

December 9th, 2021


At a time of increasingly urgent calls for climate action, the world also faces ever-rising demand for energy. How can these two trends be reconciled as we experience soaring gas prices and supply chain disruptions? 

Our …

Coming Together Across Divides: Holiday Season Special Episode

November 24th, 2021


What happens when people of opposing viewpoints and diverse backgrounds work in teams, have conversations, or even sit across the table from each other at family gatherings? How do they come together and listen to …

Hidden Progress: A More Hopeful Future

November 11th, 2021


Sometimes the future can seem dark. The pandemic drags on. Climate change is upon us. Political polarization remains toxic. When stories of division …

A Climate Scientist Makes the Case for Hope with Katharine Hayhoe

October 28th, 2021


Climate change is one of the most divisive issues in our country today. But this wasn’t the case 20 years ago. How did we get here? 

Katharine Hayhoe is a climate scientist and chief scientist for The Nature Conservancy …

How Should We Respond to the Vaccine Hesitant? With Dr. Jay Baruch

October 14th, 2021


As an ER doctor, Jay Baruch has been treating Covid patients since the start of the pandemic. He still sees many patients sick with Covid in his ER - the vast majority unvaccinated. 

 It might seem reasonable for him to …

Understanding Trump Voters and American Populism. Salena Zito

September 30th, 2021


Unlike the vast majority of journalists who cover U.S. politics, columnist Salena Zito lives far away from the centers of power and wealth. Twice a …

Depolarizing America: Bridge Builders: Bringing People Together. Nathan Bomey

September 16th, 2021


Common Ground Committee is part of a robust and growing national movement of bridge builders, who are working to reduce incivility and toxic …

Monuments and Marriage. The Most Personal Lessons About Race: Errol & Tina Toulon and Caroline Randall Williams

September 2nd, 2021


The need to find common ground for improving race relations has rarely been more urgent than it is today. In this episode, we share profound insights …

American Foreign Policy: Challenges, Threats, Opportunities. Ned Temko and Scott Peterson

August 19th, 2021


The takeover by the Taliban in Afghanistan; a more aggressive China and Russia; a newly-elected hardline President in Iran: All are all major challenges facing President Joe Biden and his Administration.

 Our podcast …

Education Reimagined with Becky Pringle and Gisele Huff

August 5th, 2021


Everyone wants the best education for their children. But parents and teachers don't always agree on how to get there.

In this episode, we hear from two education leaders whose views clashed when they first met. Gisele …

The Long-Term Care Crisis: Howard Gleckman, Stuart Butler and Paul Van de Water

July 22nd, 2021

America’s long-term care system needs much more than a facelift. Is there a common path to solutions?

Most baby boomers who retire today can expect to …

How to Take Direct Action Against Hate: Daryl Davis and Ryan Lo'Ree

July 8th, 2021


What steps are needed to cause people to leave white supremacist and other hate groups of their own volition? In this deeply personal podcast …

Depolarizing America: #ListenFirst and America Talks. Kristin Hansen and Mizell Stewart

June 24th, 2021


We learn about two brave and successful attempts to get Americans of differing backgrounds and political convictions to engage in personal …

Guardrails of Democracy: Law and Reform. Rick Pildes

June 10th, 2021


American democracy is being challenged by hyper-polarization, widespread distrust of competing parties, and extremists who seek to weaken democratic …

Environment and Climate Change: Can Young Americans Bridge the Gap?

May 27th, 2021


Young Americans, aged 18-29, believe that the threat from climate change is real regardless of their ideological leanings, compared to older …

Environment & Climate – Can Business Bridge the Gap? Stephanie Hanes & Mark Trumbull

May 13th, 2021


Banks & businesses are betting big on sustainable investments. Can they help politicians bridge the gap on climate change?

When Joe Biden talks …

Does America Need a Third Political Party? David Jolly

April 29th, 2021


Growing numbers of voters are fed up with politics as usual. In a recent survey, 62% of Americans say a third party is needed — up 5% from September …

Bridging the Rural-Urban Divide— Ashley Ahearn

April 15th, 2021


She lived in liberal Seattle and covered science, climate change and the environment for NPR for more than a decade. Then in 2018, journalist Ashley Ahearn made a big jump, moving with her husband to one of the most …

Should We Be Aiming for Unity And Ending Toxic Polarization? A Top Expert on Conflict Resolution Weighs In

April 1st, 2021


When Joe Biden became president he wanted to bring Americans together, to forge unity. But maybe unity isn’t what we should aim for. Our guest this …

Depolarizing America: Bridging Divides on Campus

March 18th, 2021


With American democracy in crisis, can students save the day?  For college students it can be frightening to consider the prospects for a better …

Depolarizing America: Finding Common Ground in Congress. Betsy Wright Hawkings and Tamera Luzzatto

March 4th, 2021


By almost any measure, Congress is much more rigidly divided along partisan lines than it was 30 years ago. Politicians run nationalized campaigns, …

The Case for Black Lives Matter: Hawk Newsome

February 18th, 2021


"All lives will matter when Black lives matter," says our guest, Hawk Newsome, in this passionate, challenging, and fascinating podcast episode. 

The co-founder and Chair of Black Lives Matter Greater New York answers …

Depolarizing America: Building Consensus Step-by-Step: Rob Fersh and Kelly Johnston

February 4th, 2021


Kelly Johnston and Rob Fersh disagree strongly on many issues and voted differently in the 2020 election. But they are friends and wrote recently

Depolarizing America. What Can All of Us Do? Tania Israel

January 21st, 2021


The vital task of finding common ground in American politics became much more difficult in the traumatic days after the violence and mayhem at the …

James Baker: The Art of Compromise. Peter Baker and Susan Glasser

January 7th, 2021


James Baker was at the center of American political power for three decades. His resume is exceedingly impressive— Secretary of State, Secretary of …

2020 Special Moments. Our Search for Common Ground

December 23rd, 2020


From tragedy and disruption caused by COVID-19, to impassioned pleas for racial justice heard across the country, and the deep divisions in our …

In This Together: Climate Change. Bill Shireman and Trammell Crow

December 10th, 2020


For decades, environmental activists have cast themselves as defenders of the planet against greedy, profit-hungry corporations. At the same time, …

Same Family. Different Politics: Becca Kearl and Robbie Lawler

November 25th, 2020


In a time of deep and sometimes bitter political division, what are the most effective ways to have conversations with family members who vote for a …

What The Voters Told Us: Christa Case Bryant and Story Hinckley

November 12th, 2020


Voters sent decidedly mixed messages in the 2020 election. This episode looks at what we can learn from then about how divided the country is — or isn’t.

Voters in cities, suburbs and rural parts of the country went to …

Election Briefing: "Why I'm Voting For...." Philippa Hughes and John Pudner

October 29th, 2020


With just days to go before the 2020 election, we invited a Trump supporter and a Biden backer to join us in the same (virtual) room, and share the personal reasons behind their vote. We have a lively, spontaneous and …

Seeking Common Ground in Congress: Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R)

October 22nd, 2020


With just days to go before a bitterly contested election, we speak with two Members of Congress, one Republican and one Democrat, who are reaching across rigid partisan divides, recognizing the value of compromise and …

2020 Election Briefing: U.S. Foreign Policy. Peter Ford and Howard LaFranchi

October 8th, 2020


President Trump's "America First" policy has led to a U.S. withdrawal from many global institutions. For decades after World War II, American …

Reforming politics: Civility, Compromise and Common Ground. Amy Dacey and Pearce Godwin

September 24th, 2020


More than 8 out of 10 Americans think the country is divided, and a large majority says public debate has gotten worse in recent years. A recent …

Election Briefing: Can We Hold a Fair Election?: David Hawkins and Tristiaña Hinton

September 10th, 2020


With only weeks to go before the 2020 election, many challenges remain to holding a free and fair vote in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

From …

2020 Election Briefing: Climate Change. Eoin O’Carroll & Eva Botkin-Kowacki

August 27th, 2020


From devastating hurricanes to increasing destruction caused by wildfires, growing numbers of Americans are suffering from the impacts of drought, storms and other extreme weather events. 

On “Let’s Find Common Ground” …

Jordan Blashek, Chris Haugh. Two Friends: One Democrat, the Other Republican Search for Common Ground

August 13th, 2020


How far apart are we as a nation? A liberal writer from Berkeley and a conservative military veteran decided to answer that question together during …

Caroline Randall Williams: "My Body is a Confederate Monument."

July 30th, 2020


"The black people I come from were owned and raped by the white people I come from," wrote author, poet and academic Caroline Randall Williams in a …

Errol and Tina Toulon: Lessons From an Interracial Couple.

July 16th, 2020


What can we discover about personal pain caused by racism? In this episode, we speak with an inter-racial couple to find out what a well-educated white professional woman learned from her African American husband, …

Art Acevedo and Maya Wiley. Reforming The Police.

July 2nd, 2020


Outrage, grief, and despair over cases of police brutality and racism erupted nationwide, with growing demands for major reforms. The protests …

Professor Ilyasa Shabazz, Dr. Brian Williams: What Racism Means to Me

June 18th, 2020


Nationwide protests against racism, police violence, and racial inequality have shaken the nation to its core. Support for Black Lives Matter and …

Daryl Davis: KKKrossing the divide: A Black man talks with white supremacists

June 4th, 2020


Communities of color face visible threats. The recent murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a young Black jogger in Georgia, and the killing of George Floyd in …

Admiral James Stavridis: Pulling Out of the Pandemic. Creative Strategies

May 21st, 2020


The coronavirus emergency is the world's biggest crisis of the 21st century--worse than the tragic losses ‪on 9/11, and the economic damage of the great recession. Using lessons from history, we look at positive ways …

Paul Light. Shared National Sacrifice: Are We Ready?

May 7th, 2020


The times ahead may be radically different than what most of us have experienced so far in our lives. This episode considers what kind of sacrifices …

Wesley Clark. The Leadership We Need at a Time of Crisis.

May 7th, 2020


What does it take to be an effective leader at a time of unprecedented crisis? We look at the vital skills great leaders share in common. Guest: Retired four-star general, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe, and …

Jared Bernstein & Maya MacGuineas. Saving Lives and the Economy

May 7th, 2020


The world is struggling with a devastating global health emergency, but pressure is building to end lockdowns and ease other restrictions. What are the best ways to restart the U.S. economy without risking public …

Introducing Let's Find Common Ground

April 30th, 2020


As the tone of public discourse becomes increasingly angry and divisive, Common Ground Committee offers a healing path to reaching agreement and …

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