This Week in Purple

What is the Purple Principle?

May 29, 2020

How does a country, the same country, with the same people, gradually but steadily become more partisan over a 50-year period?  

What are the forces driving that trend in the USA today? How can it be stopped or reversed? What are the risks if it continues? 

And, possibly most surprisingly, why are a large number of independent-minded Americans not only immune to those forces but also repelled by them, choosing some degree of social alienation and political disenfranchisement rather than falling in line with one of the two major American tribes? 

These questions inspired us to create the Purple Principle podcast. None have easy answers. But even partial answers produce rich insights. And as we asked those questions in our early interviews with scholars, legislators and people working to bridge the political gap, we became more fully committed to take a full 360-degree tour of the subject of partisanship, focusing largely on these not so United States.

For example…

In one early interview, the social psychologist Dr. Abigail Marsh compared hyperpartisan Americans to musk ox, which backs the herd into an outward facing circle when sensing threat.

In another, media scholar Dr. Dominik Stecula explained to our listeners that it’s not simply a case of some media becoming more partisan but all media becoming more political, as in holding microphones in front of politicians rather than reporting directly on the serious issues at hand. 

And from the front lines of partisanship, Unite America founder Dr. Charles Wheelan detailed his non-partisan group’s new strategy of supporting more moderate congressional candidates in both parties, rather than the heavier lift of electing independents, in the hope of breaking legislative gridlock on a host of chronic issues. 

We’re hoping to find an audience of independent-minded Americans tired of partisan spins and maneuvering and craving more effective governance within a less divisive society. Keep an eye open for further blog posts and an ear tuned to future podcasts. And Stay Purple (since this Red vs. Blue game is getting us nowhere fast.)


In 1986, 34 Democratic and 29 Republican Senators signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, creating a citizenship path for illegal immigrants while making it a Federal crime to employ illegal workers. The House also voted in favor, 238 to 173. The bill was signed into law on November 6, 1986.

In 1972, 17 Republican Senators joined 35 Democratic Senators to override the Nixon Administration veto of the Clean Water Act, a landmark piece of environmental legislation. The House override vote was 247 to 23, including 96 Republicans and 151 Democrats in the majority.

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