It is no secret that American politics are in crisis. Polls show that Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives are increasingly estranged from each other, conservative red states and progressive blue states are enacting public policies that are dramatically dichotomous, and millions of people no longer trust the integrity of our electoral system. As this program is being recorded, there is no Speaker of the House of Representatives. The two leading candidates to become president in 2024—President Joe Biden and Former President Donald Trump—are both highly unpopular, and most Americans don’t want a rematch of 2020.
How has this crisis come to be and what can be done about it? Wesley asked one of the most respected election analysts in the country to provide some insight. Henry Olsen is a Washington Post columnist and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He was the Thomas W. Smith distinguished scholar in residence at Arizona State University for the winter/spring 2023 semester.
Olsen began his career as a political consultant. After three years working for the California Assembly Republican Caucus, he went to law school, and after graduating, clerked for the Honorable Danny J. Boggs on the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Olsen later joined the think tank world where he served as the President of the Commonwealth Foundation, a Vice President at the Manhattan Institute, and Vice President and Director, National Research Initiative, at the American Enterprise Institute. He left AEI in 2013 to pursue a career in political analysis and writing at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
Olsen’s writings have appeared in variety of leading publications throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. He is the author of “The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism” and co-authored, “The Four Faces of the Republican Party”.
Olsen’s biennial election predictions have been widely praised for their uncanny accuracy, and he is a frequent guest on television and radio news and commentary programs. Olsen regularly speaks about American political trends and global populism in the United States, Europe, and Australia.
He is also the host of the Beyond the Polls podcast.
In this interview, Wesley does not ask Olsen to take sides on the issues of the day or political personalities but solicited his dispassionate analysis of what has gone wrong in our contemporary political discourse and why.