Take Your Power Back

The Wedge Theory

 
 

WEDGED

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 Wedgedauthors 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.

Contents

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

  • Guns
  • Abortion
  • 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."

 Debilyn Monileaux, Managing Partner, Living Room Conversations, and President, Coffee Party USA

 

"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.”

 David Nevins, Fellow at the Aspen Institute, Executive Board of NoLabels

 

"It has become routine for Americanspolicymakers, thought leaders, and citizens aliketo 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 WedgedErik 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

 

The Authors

Erik Fogg

Erik graduated from MIT, where he studied mechanical engineering and political science, falling in love with American politics. He earned his Masters of Science, co-authoring a number of academic papers while a student and while working with MIT, Harvard, the United Nations, and other NGOs on conflict resolution. He then spent four years as an operations and management consultant, improving organizational effectiveness and culture for a number of clients across North America.

He's been blogging and writing essays on improving American democracy since entering college, but his greatest influence for working on Wedged was his realization that those that disagreed with him had much more to teach him than those that already agree. He believes everyone can adopt this mindset and become hungry to learn from each other in political dialogue.

Erik lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is the CEO of MidTide Media, and co-founder of Something to Consider, focused on improving American political dialogue by undermining the destructive mindsets that ail politics in the US. 

 

NatHANIEL Greene

Nat's political views have evolved significantly over the years through discussions with the many great people he has been fortunate enough to encounter.  He has lived, worked and studied in Asia, Europe, and North America and traveled to over 50 countries and territories.  

Nat has noticed that people will often get upset or shut down when engaged in political or policy discussion: in many circles if you fail to fully and completely identify with an entire suite of dogmatic policy positions then you are headed for social trouble.  It is rare to find people who are curious about a situation, are actually open minded, and are willing to dig into primary sources for data.

Frustrated at this state of affairs Nat figured there were two options open to him:  give up completely or look to apply his analytical and problem solving skills to help change how we conduct political dialogue.  Thus Wedged was born.  Nat has a background in Engineering and Business management.  He has studied at Oxford University, Cambridge University and Harvard Business School.  He is the CEO of Stroud International, Chairman of MidTide Media, and co-Founder of Something to Consider.  Nat lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts with his wife and four children.

 

FOR PRESS & MEDIA

  • Press Release: See our launch press release here
  • Reviews: manuscripts are available for critical reviews upon request
  • Interviews, Articles, Talk Shows, etc: Nat and Erik are currently accepting requests by the media for appearances or features
  • Lectures and Talks: Nat and Erik are currently accepting requests by educational, business, government, and other institutions to speak about American political culture, dialogue, and polarization

Contact: please email erik AT reconsidermedia DOT com for any media requests, or use the contact form below

Book Information:

  • Publication: Nov 2015, on Amazon
  • Kindle price: $9.99
  • Paperback price: $16.97
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9898654-4-9
  • Kindle ISBN: 978-0-9898654-5-6
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ReConsider

We're out to fix broken political dialogue, re-engage the middle ground, and work together to drive improvement from shared values and mutual understanding.

ReConsider is a media outlet and community dedicated to building a critical mass of positive, effective political culture in the United States to improve the nation's politics via better dialogue and mindsets.