COMMON GROUND IN ACTION

Here’s a collection of stories about “Common Grounders” – people who are demonstrating they can find areas of agreement on a tough issue without sacrificing their principles. Send us the best links you can find on stories of Common Grounders in action and we’ll post them here!

A PBS News Hour story about how ranchers, federal officials and environmental groups are coming together to deal with conflict over cattle grazing on public lands in Oregon. Earlier this year, the conflict made national headlines because of a military style standoff. Now the parties are listening to one another, respectfully, and making good progress to finding solution. Watch the program Read more 

Across the country, a number of evangelical congregations have been engaging Muslim neighbors in new ways, while Muslim charities have reached out to Christian churches during their time of need. Read more 

The cynical view of political discourse is that, in these polarized times, members of Congress can’t really persuade their constituents. If talk does anything, leaders can only mobilize their supporters and tell them how they should think and vote. But in a new study, my collaborators (Kevin Esterling, David Lazer, William Minozzi and the Congressional Management Foundation) and I found something potentially much more encouraging about how political leaders and citizens can talk to each other. Read more 

More Americans than ever believe the economy is rigged in favor of Wall Street and big business and their enablers in Washington. We’re five years into a so-called recovery that’s been a bonanza for the rich but a bust for … Read more 

The two ministers were foes before they ever met, partisans in a war they did not start, but partisans nonetheless. For four years, they did not speak. But in the spring of 2011, the Rev. Tory Baucum drove 100 miles … Read more 

For a radical progressive who once harbored negative stereotypes about folks on the right, it was a turning point for me: Though Sean Hannity or Sarah Palin and I disagree profoundly on politics – they’re personable, kind, and human. If you … Read more 

Addressing a sensitive past will let these two key democratic powers secure a tense region – and US interests. President Obama’s sit-down with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye may have been the start of a needed rapprochement.

When any country enters a transition out of war or dictatorship, its citizens are full of hope that their leaders, economies, and societies will change. Yet too few transitions deliver. As seen in post-apartheid South Africa, the key to democratic transitions … Read more 

House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) has put together a comprehensive tax reform plan designed to simplify the tax code and promote economic growth.  What caught our eye was the degree to which he seeks to include … Read more 

WASHINGTON — Shortly after Senator Rand Paul filed suit last month against the Obama administration to stop its electronic dragnet of American phone records, he sat down for lunch with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in his private dining … Read more 

Supposedly the public’s inability to face the realities of Social Security makes it a ‘third rail’ for Congress. But when a recent survey presented Democratic and Republican voters with policy options, the majority clearly agreed on solutions to end the Social … Read more 

Bringing peace to conflict-torn South Sudan will require more than negotiated cease-fires and UN aid. Key community leaders – especially women activists and church pastors – must work for local unity.

We appreciate the seven recommendations for new producers and consumers put forth by Darrell West and Beth Stone of Brookings that, if followed, would lead to news consumers being better able to understand the implications of policy generally and personally.  … Read more 

  The Geneva II peace talks on Syria set to begin next week should lay the groundwork for a diplomatic deal to end the country’s three-year civil war. In spite of differences, Russian, US, and Iranian strategic interests can align, but … Read more 

The Murray-Ryan bipartisan budget deal was possible because of several key elements. The same approach must be applied to solving America’s ongoing, divisive fiscal problems . . .  

Journalists are not exactly perceived as heroes these days. Poll after poll finds the public is soured on them, ranking them down toward the bottom of the list with lawyers, congressmen, ax murderers and other lowlifes. It’s no wonder. For … Read more 

Over the weekend, while doing research for an essay, I re-read Catherine Drinker Bowen’s wonderful book Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention from May to September 1787. In it she quotes George Washington (a strong Federalist) on the … Read more 

This history of bipartisan compromise between President Reagan and then-House Speaker Tip O’Neill couldn’t be more relevant today. A message to Patty Murray and Paul Ryan as they forge a budget deal: the beauty of compromise is that its worst … Read more 

No state has yet found a perfect solution to gerrymandering — the partisan drawing of voting districts that favors parties and incumbents.  But reform efforts in states and cities point to an answer: independent redistricting commissions that rely on public … Read more 

Whether in the coming weeks or later, the US is going to have to grapple with its long-term debt challenge.  We at the Bipartisan Policy Center suggest these five solutions — stemming from the world of prominent leaders, Republicans and … Read more 

Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto’s political grand bargain among rival parties has helped usher in long-needed reforms.  The U.S. has something to learn from Mexico’s willingness to put country ahead of party.

Voice of the People founder Steven Kull suggests three ways for Americans to have their voice better heard in Congress through an advisory ‘Citizen Cabinet’ in every congressional district.

Americans are not nearly as polarized as Congress and favor practical solutions.  But the means they have for communicating with their representatives are no longer effective. That’s why we’re starting a ‘Citizen Cabinet’ in every district so lawmakers really know … Read more 

To hear Congress tell it, their constituents are demanding they take extreme positions and not compromise.  But as I see it from Dallas, Texas, where I’m a blue liberal in a sea of red, regular working people have no problem … Read more 

Winning over House Republicans based on Senate pressure and worry over the Latino vote won’t work.  The case for reform must be argued on its merits.  

A group of former Capitol Hill lawmakers is hoping to shame current members of Congress into behaving better in their campaigns, according to a report in Politico: The report says that more than 130 former lawmakers calling themselves Former Members … Read more 

Art Laffer and Jared Bernstein, panelists on Common Ground Committee’s upcoming 2012  Public Forum, find “common ground” on CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report” Watch the video

Our nation faces unprecedented fiscal challenges, as the commitments we’ve made now and into the future far outpace our fiscal capacity. Congress, the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, and citizens across the country must grapple with very … Read more 

On a rural American Indian reservation here, amid grazing horses and cattle, a Buddhist lama from the other side of the world is nearing completion of a $1.6 million meditative garden that he hopes will draw spiritual pilgrims. Read the … Read more 

Arianna visited Mike Huckabee’s eponymous show this weekend, finding plenty of common ground with the Fox News host and former Republican governor from Arkansas. Watch the video

Negative ad campaigning for the mid-term elections has already gotten nasty, but as candidates come head to head in debates will they play nice or throw civility out the window? Listen to the audio

For most Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, violence is out and economic change is in. Business development is the new strategy for peace. But one Palestinian is focused on educational development, based on the lessons of his … Read more 

In recent weeks US politics has been roiled by a divisive and angry debate about whether it is proper to build a mosque two blocks from the site of the World Trade Center, destroyed on September 11, 2001. Read the … Read more 

BLITZER: You’d have a hard time finding two lawmakers here in Washington farther apart on the political spectrum than Democratic Congressman Barney Frank and Republican Congressman Ron Paul, but now they are teaming up big time to call for substantial … Read more 

Hardly anyone would call Richard Nixon a uniter, but in 1969 the new president tried to extend the open hand.  At the height of the Vietnam War, during a time of riots and widespread social unrest, Nixon used his first … Read more 

At the University of Michigan today, Obama took a shot at the fiery anti-government rhetoric dominating the nation’s political debate. But calls for civility can come at a cost. Read the article

The odd-fellow coalition of Conservative David Cameron and Liberal-Democrat Nick Clegg has laid down radical markets for redistributing power, reviving the private sector, and trimming back bloated spending. So far, they’ve hung together. Read the article

When asked about their political views, cultures and backgrounds and whether they create problems for them on or off the basketball court, Niveen Rasheed and Lauren Polansky laugh simultaneously. Polansky and Rasheed, who grew up near each other in Northern … Read more 

There is much that is deeply troubling to all of us these days: the worst economic crisis in decades, two overseas wars, the continuing threat of terrorism, a dangerously unstable Middle East, and much more. But another unsettling development is … Read more