The Divided States of America: Can Our Politics Be Depolarized?

The Divided States of America: Can Our Politics Be Depolarized?

January 10, 2018

Our Keynote Speaker

Thomas E. Mann

Thomas E. Mann is the W. Averell Harriman Chair and senior fellow in Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution. Between 1987 and 1999, he was Director of Governmental Studies at Brookings. Before that, Mann was executive director of the American Political Science Association.

Born on September 10, 1944, in Milwaukee, he earned his B.A. in political science at the University of Florida and his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. He first came to Washington in 1969 as a Congressional Fellow in the offices of Senator Philip A. Hart and Representative James G. O’Hara.

Mann has taught at Princeton University, Johns Hopkins University, Georgetown University, the University of Virginia and American University; conducted polls for congressional candidates; worked as a consultant to IBM and the Public Broadcasting Service; chaired the Board of Overseers of the National Election Studies; and served as an expert witness in the constitutional defense of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.  He lectures frequently in the United States and abroad on American politics and public policy and is also a regular contributor to newspaper stories and television and radio programs on politics and governance.

Mann is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a recipient of the American Political Science Association’s Frank J. Goodnow and Charles E. Merriam Awards.

Mann’s published works include Unsafe at Any Margin: Interpreting Congressional Elections;Vital Statistics on CongressThe New CongressA Question of Balance: The President, the Congress and Foreign PolicyMedia Polls in American PoliticsRenewing CongressCongress, the Press, and the PublicIntensive Care: How Congress Shapes Health PolicyCampaign Finance Reform: A SourcebookThe Permanent Campaign and Its Future; Inside the Campaign Finance Battle:  Court Testimony on the New ReformsThe New Campaign Finance Sourcebook; and Party Lines:  Competition, Partisanship and Congressional Redistricting. He has also written numerous scholarly articles and opinion pieces on various aspects of American politics, including elections, political parties, Congress, the presidency and public policymaking.

He and Norman Ornstein in 2008 published an updated edition of The Broken Branch:  How Congress is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track (Oxford University Press). Their new book, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism, was published by Basic Books in the spring of 2012. Mann and Ornstein were recently named by Foreign Policy Magazine among “100 Top Global Thinkers of 2012” for “diagnosing America’s political dysfunction.”

Mann resides in Bethesda, Maryland with his wife Sheilah, who is also a political scientist. They have two children, Ted, an assistant curator at the Guggenheim Museum in New York and a Ph.D. student in the NYU Institute of Fine Arts, and Stephanie, a marketing manager at Clorox in Oakland, California.

Original text from brookings.edu


The Divided States of America: Can Our Politics Be Depolarized?

Tuesday, September 30:

  • 7:30pm, EUC auditorium, Keynote address – “The Divided States of America: Can Our Politics Be Depolarized?” by Thomas Mann

Wednesday, October 22:

  • 7:30pm, School of Education Building Auditorium, Lecture – “How News Coverage Polarizes Us and What (If Anything) Can Be Done About It” by Jonathan Ladd

November 2014:

  • “Inside the Beltway: Perspectives on Polarization from Congressional Staff” – A panel discussion with current and former Congressional staff on the challenges of working in a polarized Congress. Date and panelists TBA.

Additional Information