Can anyone fix what ails the United States?

Emergency personnel work at a crash scene
Emergency personnel work at the scene where a driver sped through a protest-related closure on Interstate 5 in Seattle on July 4.
James Anderson via AP file

Whose job is it to address the challenges the United States faces right now? Can any one person — like the president — fix it? 

These questions come up as the country grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, a touch-and-go economy, and protests and calls for change following the police killing of George Floyd and  several other Black Americans. 

America has faced an onslaught of challenges before, but it’s weighing on us. For example, 80 percent of participants in a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey told pollsters that things are “out of control.”

MPR News host Kerri Miller talked with a political scientist and a historian about how change happens and whether any one person or group can fix the situation we’re in.


  • Philip Chen, assistant professor of political science at Beloit College in Wisconsin.

  • Leah Wright Rigueur, assistant professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

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