Where Should Common Ground Go From Here?

Hamilton deserves praise for Common Ground, the new series aimed at bringing together distinguished individuals from across the political divide to engage, with the help of a moderator, in civil discussion about some of today’s most controversial topics. Last year, Common Ground focused more on the speakers than on subjects for debate. Hamilton could expand this platform by making ideas, not just the guests, central to it.

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Extreme Speech and the American Civil Liberties Union

The alt-right and white nationalist rallies of August 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia brought about a period of reflection and self-examination for much of the nation. The citizens of Charlottesville were faced with the ugly aftertaste of brawls and a fatal vehicular attack. Politicians were faced with the need to address a president who seemed unable to unequivocally condemn white nationalist protesters. Americans were confronted with an ugly ideology, emboldened, rearing its head in public. But one of the biggest episodes of soul-searching, and one of the most overlooked, happened within the American Civil Liberties Union.

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Politics Dictating Consumer Choice

In the era of President Trump, political speech by businesses and business leaders is now under more scrutiny and more controversial. Many businesses and their executives have come under fire for donations to political campaigns, often through industry interest groups, and the criticism has led to frustration among corporate leaders. Companies were condemned from the left when their chief executives took part in Trump’s now-defunct business advisory council, even though they were preaching positions of moderation and stressing business over politics.

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When Personality Trumps Good Governance

The annual State of the Union address was a spectacle this year. Cameras panned to an obviously split House chamber after each sentence from President Trump. One side applauded enthusiastically while the other side sat stone-faced. Besides its theatrics, this year’s State of the Union address brought forward an important question: Can we look past disdain for a politician’s character in order to work with them to enact policy?

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