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Stephanie Cutter and Ana Navarro: Closing America’s Political Divide an Uphill Battle

Citing recent news headlines of Republican candidate Greg Gianforte body-slamming and punching a reporter, comedian Kathy Griffin’s controversial photo of a bloodied President Trump, and white supremacist Jeremy Christian’s alleged hate crimes, Washington, D.C. insiders Stephanie Cutter and Ana Navarro said little has changed since President Trump’s inauguration to indicate the tide of political discourse is shifting from one of contentious debate to civil conversation.

“These are all symbols of the hate and partisanship divide that has consumed our country,” Navarro said.

Navarro and Cutter were joined on Michigan’s Center Stage on Wednesday by former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr., political analyst for MSNBC and CNBC. All three acknowledged that while some progress has been made, deep political divides on key issues such as immigration and health care remain.

Following the 2016 election, Cutter and Navarro said America can move forward and heal only if partisans on both sides of the aisle can learn to set aside their differences and listen to each other.

Key takeaways:

  • In today’s digital age, political discourse has given way to highly partisan, anonymous posts on social media sites and 24-hour news cycles that fuel Americans’ anger.
  • Conservative and liberal cable news programs breed partisan surrogates who refuse to admit fault or human flaw.
  • President Trump’s media savviness is largely credited for his election victories in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
  • Political pundits did not realize how much change America wanted during the 2016 election and how voters were willing to “burn down the village to save the town.”
  • President Trump’s contentious treatment of the national press has inadvertently brought back “true, fact-finding journalists.”
  • Political activism has awakened in America and it is exciting to see more young people interested in running for office.
  • Hillary Clinton’s campaign ignored the concerns of Michiganders and was a case of “malpractice.”
  • Democrats have to go back to the basics and build a talent pipeline to run in the 2020 election.

The session was sponsored by Delta Air Lines and aligned with the Conference pillar of restoring civility in American politics.