Extreme politics hurt progress. New podcast explores why fixing it is ‘Mandatory’ – MLive.com

Americans are more divided than ever and it's not serving us well.
Even if you haven’t studied political polarization, you’ve probably experienced it. You may feel it in the way every conversation with a certain family member turns to politics, or how something as simple as walking into the grocery store and noting who’s wearing masks.
And it’s not just you — polarization is becoming a defining feature of the American political system. It’s become concerning even to politicians.
“I see the polarization as like a national security threat,” said U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly.
“I think that if we can’t, if we’re so polarized that we can’t govern, we reinforce this idea that democracy doesn’t work.”
Ahead of an already-amped election, MLive political reporters Malachi Barrett and Emily Lawler have spent the last few months connecting with people all over the political spectrum, longtime observers and political academics and experts about why we’re ticking in such opposite directions.
What they learned is summed up in a one-episode special of Mandatory, an MLive podcast. You can find the episode on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
The podcast is part of a series of stories MLive is running exploring how we got this divided — and what we can do to fix it.
Catch up on the rest of the series:
Americans don’t trust each other. Democracy hangs in the balance.
Former Gov. Rick Snyder: ‘If we can’t get along with ourselves, we’re in serious trouble.’
Term limits were supposed to fix Lansing. Did they make it worse instead?
6 ways to fix Michigan politics
And this is an issue we’re interested in tracking throughout this contentious election year. So, we could use your help.
Do you have a politically divided family in our purple state? Know a Republican and Democrat who get along super well? See bipartisan bliss in your town? Think we’re better off divided into these camps? Leave us a message at (616) 222-1022, or send an email to elawler@mlive.com or mbarret1@mlive.com.
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