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America is Not as Divided as You Think

Posted on July 19, 2023
By Paul Johnson, Host, The Optimistic American


Paul Johnson welcomes Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Global Future Scholar, and former Senior Policy Director in the U.S. House of Representatives Dr. Sybil Francis.

They discuss the Center for Future of Arizona initiative, some of the key findings from big surveys, and talk about the so-called shared public values, and what data is actually showing in regard to divisions in America today.

  • Polling from around the U.S. shows that Americans are not as divided as one could think, so why aren’t American politics reflecting who Americans are?, asks Dr. Francis.
  • Dr. Francis shares her thoughts about why, even though polling seems to be giving signs of positivity, these don’t get picked up by local news and media.
  • In the 14 years, Dr. Francis has had the data, she hasn’t seen any better or more promising solution than the open primary ranked-choice voting system.
  • Dr. Francis explains that much of their work is about how we change our mental models about who we are based on data. And then, what should be done with that information?
  • Dr. Francis believes that 'changing systems are the greatest leverage to really impactful change.'

We are The Optimistic American, and we are in the business of promoting what is going right in our country. Every day, there is tremendous progress being made in America — across technology, public policy, science and medicine, and much more — that will set current and future generations up for success. Our goal is to highlight these advancements and tilt the scale of news and information from pessimism towards optimism.

This interview reflects the best themes of The Optimistic American, that our best days lie ahead.