Take Your Power Back
The Wedge Theory
How You Became a Tool of the Partisan Political Establishment
And How to Start Thinking For Yourself Again
OUR WEDGED NATION
Americans are fed up with politics as usual. Really, really fed up.
This, however, is old news.
For over a decade the pundits of America have decried the dysfunction of American politics, and politicians have promised that, if elected, they’ll bring about the change we need. We’ve grown rightly cynical to such promises, and we watch, seemingly helpless, as the state of politics in the US spirals further into partisan gridlock and mutual antipathy.
Dozens of solutions have been proposed to heal the partisan divide and get American politics back on track. But most come ultimately to some form of, “the other party should be more reasonable and agree with me,” or, “politicians should just stop fighting and work together.” These solutions haven’t worked because they have failed to address the root cause of the problem.
A wedge has been driven into American politics by powerful political, social, and economic incentives that are very difficult to overcome. The middle ground has fallen out of the political process, leaving power in the hands of hard-line partisans that frame the national agenda and direct our political energy towards emotionally satisfying--but politically unproductive--tribal warfare.
In Wedged, authors Erik Fogg and Nathaniel Greene take readers through a compelling, thorough, and accessible explanation of how Americans--from voters to politicians to media--participate in the process that is tearing the nation apart. Readers will understand the history and process behind growing partisan gridlock, and explore the wedge issues used to hijack us into being tools for the political machine.
Americans can right the ship of our political system, but it requires a change in culture that starts with each of us. Greene and Fogg leave readers with both the inspiration and strategy necessary for each of us to begin the hard work of extracting the wedge from American politics.
Wedged is meant to to reverse the trend of polarization in the United States by helping Americans become less susceptible to wedging. The authors want people who read Wedged to respond differently to wedging tactics--to say, “hang on a minute,” when wedging tactics are used on them. That moment of realization is step one to the American people taking our power back.
This book will help you become aware when wedging is happening to you, illustrate what wedging tactics look like, and provide alternative ways to think about problems that aren’t sensationalized, black and white extremes. The breakdown and polarization of American politics has been driven by identity politics, and the way to overcome it is to create a culture that rejects this false identity and re-centers itself on the core values that Americans share.
Introduction: How American Political Dialogue Fell Apart
Part 1: The Wedge in American Politics
- The Dire State of American Political Dysfunction
- How the Wedge Works
Part 2: The Wedge Issues
- Wealth and Taxes
- Driving the Wedge Into Bigger Issues
Part 3: How Wedge Issues Die
- Gay Marriage: A Case Study
Part 4: Overcoming the Wedge
- Starting With Yourself
- Changing the Soil
PRAISE FOR WEDGED
“Having closely observed power politics from Capitol Hill to Main Street for the past quarter century, Wedged is like a lightning bolt of hope in a dark and stormy sky. It shows that the younger generations won't repeat our mistakes, but will challenge America's leaders to raise the level of their game — or be history!”
— Mark Gerzon, bestselling author of Leading Through Conflict and The Reunited States of America: How We Can Bridge the Partisan Divide
“What beautiful, concise, powerful, and illuminating writing… A real gift to the field.”
— John Steiner, co-Founder of the transpartisan Bridge Alliance
"Fogg and Greene compellingly expose the roots of political polarization in the United States, shattering common misconceptions and blame-pointing. If this was required reading in civics classes, the US political system would be better for it."
— Devon Walker, co-Founder of Run for America
"We love simple solutions and that is how we’ve become Wedged. Our country is not simple. But it is worth our loving attention. Wedged gently reveals how we share more values and priorities in the USA than we believe. And Wedged outlines where we can begin working together, to restore our confidence in each other and the improved future we all want."
"Wedged provides a voice of commonsense and logic, blending practical advice and applied psychology to illustrate the process of political manipulation at a very personal level. The book's advice on how to recognize this process and escape from it is extremely valuable and offers hope for the future."
— Stephen R Balzac, Professor, Organizational Psychology , Wentworth Institute of Technology, author, Organizational Psychology for Managers
“An illuminating and compelling read that offers an insightful perspective on the cause of the dysfunction and paralysis that is plaguing the political process in our country today.”
"It has become routine for Americans—policymakers, thought leaders, and citizens alike—to bemoan the toxicity of their nation's discourse and the dysfunction of its politics. Reasoned discussion on pressing policy challenges has increasingly given way to ad hominem invective. At the national level, moreover, as the center disappears, so, too, does the incentive for compromise across party lines.
In Wedged, Erik Fogg and Nathaniel Greene draw on psychology, politics, and an impressive volume of data to illuminate how this state of affairs has come to pass and explain how Americans can begin to restore civility and objectivity to their proper places in the American conversation. It is an important and commendable effort."
— Ali Wyne, contributing analyst at Wikistrat, and global fellow at the Project for the Study of the 21st Century