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October 10, 2020 • 1–2:30 p.m.

Professor Jennifer Wolak, Political Science

Americans are deeply divided along partisan lines. The disagreements between Democrats and Republicans are not just ideological, but also social. Friends are unfriended on social media for their political rants. Political arguments threaten the harmony of Thanksgiving gatherings. The partisan divides among Americans are thought to fuel gridlock in Washington, as elected officials resist making concessions and hold the party line. How can democracy survive in a time of party polarization?

In this lecture, Wolak will discuss how that in contrast to the conventional wisdom, Americans want politicians to work together to find compromises. Even if they disagree about partisan priorities, most Americans prefer elected officials who will make compromises to those who stand firm to their ideological convictions.

Find out more about Wolak’s research

About the presenter

Jennifer Wolak is a professor of political science who studies public opinion and political behavior in the United States. Her research interests include the development of political attitudes, the character of partisan reasoning, and the ways people think about government. She is the author of Compromise in an Age of Party Polarization. Wolak received her doctorate in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2004. To find out more, visit Wolak’s website.