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The Exchange

Is The American Political System Broken?

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A week into a government shutdown, with a looming debt ceiling crisis, politicians remain rooted in their positions.  Many people wonder if we’ve become partisan to a fault, with both sides refusing to contemplate compromise. We’ll look at how we got here and whether we’ve run out of solutions.


  • Thomas E. Mann: The W. Averell Harriman Chair and senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution. He is a former executive director of the American Political Science Association.
  • Norman J. Ornstein: A resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the author of a weekly column for Roll Call called “Congress Inside Out.”
  • Dante Scala: Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of New Hampshire. He's also a fellow at UNH's Carsey Institute. Follow him on Twitter @graniteprof.

*The book co-written by Mann and Ornstein, It's Even Worse Than It Looks, was recently released in an expanded paperback edition, with a new preface and afterword.