What do you think the other side thinks? Guest Dan Vallone is the Director of More in Common U.S.A., an organization that’s been asking Democrats and Republicans that critical question. Their work has uncovered countless “perception gaps” in our understanding of each other. For example, Democrats think that about 30 percent of Republicans support “reasonable gun control,” but in reality, it’s about 70 percent. Both Republicans and Democrats think that about 50 percent of the other side would feel that physical violence is justified in some situations, but the actual number for each is only about five percent. “Both sides are convinced that the majority of their political opponents are extremists,” says Dan. “And yet, that's just not true.” Social media encourages the most extreme views to speak the loudest and rise to the top – and it’s hard to start a conversation and work together when we’re all arguing with mirages. But Dan’s insights and the work of More in Common provide a hopeful guide to unraveling the distortions we’ve come to accept so we can correct our foggy vision.
Dan Vallone is the Director of More in Common U.S.A., New York. Prior to joining More in Common, Dan Vallone worked on education policy and innovation at the state and national level. Previously, he served six years active duty as an Army infantry officer, with one tour in Afghanistan. He graduated from West Point and earned an M.A. in Contemporary China from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore on a Fulbright Scholarship and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He lives in New York City.
Join Dan Vallone in discussion with David Jay, Head of Mobilization at the Center for Humane Technology, for our conversation series Let’s Talk on Friday, April 23rd at 12 PM ET/ 9AM PT. RSVP here.
This website and report from More in Common investigates why and how Americans tend to have a distorted understanding of people on the other side of the political spectrum.
This 2018 report from More In Common identifies seven major American political “tribes” with different yet predictable beliefs and attitudes. Naming these tribes helps us better understand the forces behind political polarization in America today.
The Fog of War is a 2003 Academy Award-winning documentary directed by Errol Morris about how government officials make life-and-death decisions based on misperception of wartime characters.
Chris Horton’s MIT Technology Review article introduces Americans to vTaiwan, a website and crowdsourcing tool in Taiwan that has been used to build consensus across political coalitions and inspire popular legislation during periods of deadlock.