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Publisher's Summary

American democracy is at an impasse. After years of zero-sum partisan trench warfare, our political institutions are deteriorating. Our norms are collapsing. Democrats and Republicans no longer merely argue; they cut off contact with each other. In short, the two-party system is breaking our democracy, and driving us all crazy.  

Deftly weaving together history, democratic theory, and cutting-edge political science research, Lee Drutman tells the story of how American politics became so toxic, why the country is trapped in a doom loop of escalating two-party warfare, and why it is destroying the shared sense of fairness and legitimacy on which democracy depends. He argues that the only way out is to have more partisanship - more parties, to short-circuit the zero-sum nature of binary partisan conflict.  

Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop makes a compelling case for large scale electoral reform - importantly, reform not requiring a constitutional amendment - that would give America more parties, making American democracy more representative, more responsive, and ultimately more stable.

©2020 Lee Drutman (P)2020 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop

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Good book

This is a good non partisan book about how we've become so partisan (mostly from having only two political parties) and strategies to fix it. While I really enjoyed it and think everyone should read it, I'm disappointed that the audio book doesn't include a PDF with the described diagrams. Several times the auto book asks the reader to refer to figure X but of course you can't. The book does read off parts of the diagram so you know what it is, but this should be included. I hope future publishers will realize that we buy the audio book and don't want to have to buy the physical copy to see the diagrams.

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Why is no one talking about this?

I had no idea what a plurality election was before this; I thought there is only one way elections can be done. Its strange that this issue has zero presence in the news. The author does a great job - also check him out on Ezra Klein's podcast, excellent episode. This issue needs more attention, and should be the first thing fixed, so effective governance can actually take place.

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convincing, timely, necessary

it's past time to renew our struggling American democracy through a mass movement aimed at changing the means and incentives behind our electoral system to allow for the emergence of new and different voices, tempered by coalition-building and the virtue of compromise

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An incredibly thoughtful of what’s wrong with American politics

Drutman paints a thorough picture of what is wrong with American politics. He also goes into reforms and how they may happen. This is a book for any and everyone feeing lost in the current American political environment. The points in this book should be at the heart of every discussion about the state of American politics going forward.

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A Must- read

Clear explanation of how we got here and how American democracy can be saved.

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An Absolute Necessity

Should be required reading for every American citizen. The malaise that plagues our democracy is not simply a matter of character but of structure, and Drutman illustrates this divide movingly. I've read his work on FiveThirtyEight for years, but this is the first that I've read a full-length piece by him. If the events of 1/6 shook you to your core, then you need this book in your ear today. It's important now more than ever.

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if you care about the country you should read this

A great book about potential corrections we can make to our American political. The first part of the book has a great breakdown of our history and foundations. the last part of the book has many important suggestions to rectify the issues and lead us towards a more perfect union. I gave it four stars instead of five because it is a little dry, that said I don't know how you can make this topic not to be dry to some degree.

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great and fair book

such an excellent book. this would improve the United States greatly, not just for one party.

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A Must Read After the Events of 01/06/2021


The author clearly outlines the increasing polarization of American politics and how we the people can break the doom loop. A must read for all Americans.

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Separates the cause from the symptoms

This is the book I’ve been looking for for a long time. It’s the first one I’ve read that actually identifies the root cause of our broken political system instead of bemoaning how this or that politician is at fault. A broken system requires systematic change. No one politician can be blamed for this mess, but rather the broken system of incentives that motivate bad behavior and toxic partisanship. This book finally provides a playbook for how to get out of our current two party doom loop.