Facing extreme partisanship and polarization, America's two-party system has come under fire.
Critics argue that the two-party system runs contrary to the founders' intent and has created a political system that fails to represent the electorate, concentrates power for the elites, and makes compromise impossible. But others argue that the two-party system is necessary to rein in extremes and promote the democratic institutions that are necessary to the nation's political and social stability.
As the nation gears up for the 2020 election, Intelligence Squared U.S., with generous support from the Dolby Family in partnership with Hirsch Philanthropy Partners, presents a debate on the motion "Two Cheers for Two Parties," now available to watch across platforms.
Watch "Two Cheers for Two Parties" now: https://www.intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/two-cheers-two-parties
Arguing for the motion are Harvard political theorist Yascha Mounk and American Enterprise Institute scholar Norman Ornstein. Arguing against the motion are Lee Drutman, author of new book 'Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop,' and Katherine Gehl, co-chair of the National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers. Celebrated American historian Joanne B. Freeman gives a keynote speech kicking off the event.
Taped recently in front of a live audience in San Francisco, "Two Cheers for Two Parties" debate is now available to watch online. It will also air soon as part of the syndicated public radio show and podcast "Intelligence Squared U.S."
* Joanne B. Freeman: Professor of History and American Studies, Yale University
Joanne B. Freeman is a widely celebrated American historian specializing in the nation's early politics and political culture. She is a leading expert on Alexander Hamilton and his world; her work was the inspiration for Lin-Manuel Miranda's song "Ten Duel Commandments" in Broadway's "Hamilton" musical. She is currently a tenured professor at Yale University and co-host of the popular American History podcast Backstory. Her most recent book, "The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War," focuses on how partisanship and physical violence helped pave the way to civil warfare.
FOR THE MOTION
* Yascha Mounk: Lecturer, Harvard University & Senior Fellow, New America
Yascha Mounk is a lecturer on political theory at Harvard University, a senior fellow at New America, and a postdoctoral fellow at the German Marshall Fund. A columnist at Slate and the host of The Good Fight podcast, he is an expert on the rise of populism and the crisis of liberal democracy. He is also the author of "The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom is in Danger and How to Save It."
* Norman Ornstein: Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute
Norman Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies politics, elections, and the U.S. Congress. A longtime observer and analyst of American politics, he is a co-host of AEI's Election Watch series, a contributing editor and columnist for National Journal and The Atlantic, a BBC News election analyst, and the chairman of the Campaign Legal Center.
AGAINST THE MOTION
* Lee Drutman: Author, "Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop"
Lee Drutman is a political scientist and author focused on political parties and democracy. His recent book, "Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop," makes the case for a multi-party system in the United States. He is a senior fellow in the Political Reform program at New America, co-host of the Politics in Question podcast, and writes for the New York Times, Vox, and FiveThirtyEight, among other outlets.
* Katherine Gehl: Entrepreneur & Political Reformer
Katherine Gehl is a business leader, political innovation activist, author, and speaker. Gehl leads Venn Innovations, a national, nonpartisan political innovation group, and is the co-author of the forthcoming book, "The Politics Industry," from Harvard Business Publishing. Gehl is co-chair of the National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers, and co-founder and co-chair of Democracy Found. Gehl was president and CEO of Gehl Foods, a $250 million high-tech food manufacturing company in Wisconsin.
ABOUT INTELLIGENCE SQUARED U.S. DEBATES (IQ2US)
A non-partisan, non-profit organization, Intelligence Squared U.S. was founded in 2006 to address a fundamental problem in America: the extreme polarization of our nation and our politics. Their mission is to restore critical thinking, facts, reason, and civility to American public discourse. The award-winning debate series reaches millions of viewers and listeners through through multi-platform distribution, including radio, live streaming, podcasts, interactive digital content, and on-demand apps on Roku and Apple TV. With over 170 debates and counting, Intelligence Squared U.S. has encouraged the public to "think twice" on a wide range of provocative topics. Author and ABC News correspondent John Donvan has moderated IQ2US since 2008.