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How Divided Have We Been and Where Can We Go from Here?

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Third panel of "An Era of Polarized Politics -- and Does it Matter?" Panelists include Nancy Tate, Executive Director, LWV; Dr. Pietro Nivola, Vice President, Brookings Institution, Director of Governance Studies Program, and editor of“Red & Blue Nation”; Dr. William Galston, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution and Ron Brownstein, Political Director, Atlantic Media, and author of “The Second Civil War.” Closing comments by Mary Wilson, President, LWV.


Ron Brownstein, Political Director, Atlantic Media, and author of “The Second Civil War”
Ronald Brownstein is the political director of Atlantic Media Co. and the author of "The Second Civil War: How Extreme Partisanship Has Paralyzed Washington and Polarized America." His weekly column in the National Journal magazine, "Political Connections," focuses on the intersection of politics and policy. 

From 1990 - 2007, Ronald Brownstein was the national affairs columnist for the Los Angeles Times, writing a weekly column on politics and policy as well as regular pieces for the newspaper's Opinion pages. Previously he served as the Times' national political correspondent and the author of the weekly Washington Outlook column.

Mr. Brownstein has twice been named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, receiving that recognition for his coverage of both the 1996 and 2004 presidential campaigns. The Pulitzer Board, naming him a finalist in 2005, cited "the clarity, consistency and quality of his political reporting during a presidential election year."   He’s appeared as a political analyst for CNN since 1998, and has appeared frequently on "Meet the Press," "This Week with George Stephanopolous", "Face the Nation," "The Newshour with Jim Lehrer," and "Washington Week in Review." He has also been a repeat guest on Charlie Rose, Nightline, the morning programs, MSNBC, CNBC, as well as C-Span.

Mr. Brownstein graduated, with honors, from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1979 with a degree in English Literature. He is the recipient of several journalism awards, including the exceptional merit in media award from the National Women's Political Caucus, the Excellence in Media award from the National Council on Public Polls in 2005, and the journalist of the year award from the Los Angeles Press Club in 2005.

Dr. William Galston, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
William Galston joined the Brookings Institution as a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies on January 1, 2006. Formerly the Saul Stern Professor at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, Dr. Galston specializes in issues of American public philosophy and political institutions. He is working on several high-profile projects pertaining to core questions of American public philosophy. Among these are how to ensure equity between generations in an aging society, and how to advance policies that are in the nation's long-term interest in a political environment biased toward short-term gains. He also will be a leading contributor to a wide-ranging exploration of the causes, consequences, and possible correction of polarized politics, a new initiative at Brookings.

After serving as a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps and then receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1973, Galston taught for nearly a decade in the Department of Government at the University of Texas. In the 1990s, he served as deputy assistant for domestic policy to President Clinton, and later as executive director for the National Commission on Civic Renewal. Dr. Galston was also the director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, an organization he founded with support from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Dr. Galston is the author of six books and nearly one hundred articles on questions of political and moral philosophy, American politics and public policy. His most recent book is Public Matters: Politics, Policy, and Religion in the 21st Century (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005). Galston is also a co-author of Democracy at Risk: How Political Choices Undermine Citizen Participation and What We Can Do About It, recently published by the Brookings Press.

Dr. Pietro Nivola, Vice President, Brookings Institution, Director of Governance Studies Program, and editor of “Red & Blue Nation”
Pietro Nivola is a vice president of the Brookings Institution and director of its Governance Studies Program. He came to Brookings as a visiting fellow in 1988, and then was appointed a senior fellow in 1993. Prior to that, he had been an associate professor of political science at the University of Vermont, and in 1976-77 a lecturer in the department of government at Harvard University. During several of his years at Brookings, Dr. Nivola also held adjunct teaching positions at Stanford University’s Robert M. Bass Center, Georgetown University’s Graduate Public Policy Program, and with the Washington programs of the political science departments of the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Nivola has written numerous books and articles on subjects ranging from energy regulation and environmental protection, to trade and industrial policy, urban problems, federalism, and American national politics. He is also co-editor of the widely adopted text Classic Readings in American Politics, first published by St. Martin’s Press in 1986 and now in its third edition. One of his latest books, co-edited with Henry J. Aaron and James M. Lindsay, is a volume titled Agenda for the Nation, published by Brookings in 2003.

Pietro Nivola received his A.B. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. He also holds an M.C.P. from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Dr. Nivola was awarded Harvard's Frederick Sheldon Traveling Fellowship, and was a Samuel Andrew Stouffer Fellow at the Joint Center for Urban Studies of Harvard and M.I.T. His work has been supported by grants or fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Earhart Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Alex C. Walker Foundation, the Century Foundation, and the Joyce Foundation.