Will America heal its divisions in the aftermath of the 2020 election?

People standing at voter booths spaced apart from each other.
Voters wear masks and maintain social distance Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 during early voting at the Ramsey County Elections Office in St. Paul.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News/Christine T. Nguyen

What does an increasingly polarized political climate mean for the aftermath of the election? 

An initiative called With Malice Toward None seeks to heal divisions in the wake of the 2020 election, regardless of the outcome. Braver Angels, a group that trains people to have conversations across political divides, was inspired by Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address to promote understanding. Their research shows that even people who disagree passionately on political and social issues can learn how to have productive interactions

How can we treat our political opposites without disdain, ridicule or stereotyping? Can you be a committed activist for a particular cause—whether ending abortion or expanding transgender rights—and still treat your opponents with courtesy and respect? Can the insights and tools that have helped couples on the brink of divorce also help Americans discuss differences constructively? 

On Thursday at 9 a.m., MPR News host Kerri Miller spoke with Braver Angels co-founder Bill Doherty and took listener calls. 


Bill Doherty is Director of the Couples on the Brink project at the University of Minnesota and co-founder of Braver Angels. 

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

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