S3-EP14: Diane Feldman on Bridging the Political Divide in the U.S., the Problems with Polling, and Contributing to Your Local Community

Jan 29, 2021


Debbie talks with longtime friend and veteran political consultant Diane Feldman about the political divide in the U.S., why polarization is not new, and why polling no longer works the way it did.



Today Debbie Weil talks to Diane Feldman, an old friend and a veteran political consultant, to get her take on an issue that Debbie has been chewing and stewing over: the deep political divide in this country.

After running The Feldman Group, a Democratic research & polling firm in D.C. for almost 30 years, Diane shut down her firm two years ago and retired to Jackson, Mississippi. Debbie’s first question for her might sound naive: is there a message that President Biden could send that would get us to the unity he calls for in his Inaugural Address? But it comes out of her genuine perplexity about how to unify the dramatically opposing factions in this country: Democrats vs. Republicans, those who voted for Trump vs. those who elected Biden, those who believe in truth and facts vs. those who don’t seem to.

This kind of polarization in America isn’t new, Diane reminds us. It’s been going on for a long, long time. Think back to the many who opposed Dr. Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement. What’s new, she says, is that 85 million Americans were willing to stand up and vote for equity and anti-racism.

They talk about this and more: the different kinds of political messaging, the Jan. 6th assault on the Capitol, white supremacy, the current echoes of the resistance to the civil rights movement, why people get stuck in their own political bubbles, and Diane’s analysis of why polling is not the strategically effective tool it used to be, which is one reason she decided to shut down The Feldman Group and start a new chapter of her life where she no longer sells her time but is finding ways to contribute in her new community.

Lots to chew on. Be sure to check out Diane’s blog, The View From the Pearl, referring to the river that runs through Jackson.


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