Skip to main content


Who Decides? Democracy and Divide

Ever since the 2000 elections, we've gotten used to the notion of a nation made up of red states and blue states that are divided politically and culturally and with citizens who can find little common ground.

Are Americans more ideologically segregated today than they have been in the past? Are public discussions of controversial issues more polarized? If ideological segregation and polarized discussion characterizes the current state of affairs, what does this mean for representative democracy and for our ability to make difficult decisions together? What is the role and responsibility of the mainstream and social media in our public discourse?

Please join us for a conversation with experts who are thinking, writing, and talking about these issues as we launch our new series, The (Un)Common Good.


  • Danielle Allen, Ph.D. - UPS Foundation Professor, Institute for Advanced Study; author of Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education and Why Plato Wrote
  • Wayne E. Baker, Ph.D. - University of Michigan, Robert P.Thome Professor of Management and Organizations; Professor of Sociology; Professor of Organizational Studies, LSA & Faculty Associate, Institute for Social Research; author of America's Crisis of Values: Reality and Perception
  • Bill Bishop - Co-author of The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart; co-editor of The Daily Yonder, a web-based publication covering rural America
  • Brendan Nyhan, Ph.D. - Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of Michigan; former co-editor of Spinsanity
  • Pete Peterson - Executive Director, Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership, School of Public Policy, Pepperdine University
  • Ralph Cintron, Ph.D. - Department of English, University of Illinois at Chicago (moderator)

This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required and can be made online by emailing or by calling 312-422-5580.

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.