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Undivided Nation: How A Former Politico Is Trying To Heal The Partisan Divide


When you find yourself disillusioned by a life in politics, what do you do? David Leaverton, who worked as a senior field director for Republican senator Bob Corker, decided he needed to quit his job, sell his home and take his family across the country in an effort to find common ground with Americans of different political stripes.

Leaverton is calling the project Undivided Nation. I spoke with him about it and you can listen to our conversation in the audio player above.

Interview Highlights

Leaverton on how he set out "to bring unity to America":

"We decided the best way to understand the problem was to get out and learn about these divisions. And we could not do that living in our bubble in Dallas, Texas. We live in our own world, we've got neighbors who look and think and act like us. We go to restaurants with the same people, grocery stores with the same people and church with the same people.

"And for us, we literally had to step outside our world and get perspectives that were different than ours. And the way that we felt to do that was to quit our jobs, to sell our house and to buy an RV and to take our family of five on the road for a year to all 50 states."

On what he's learning from his travels across the country:

"We really have seen the power in bringing people from different backgrounds together over a meal, over food, over coffee — whatever that may be — and having that shared experience of breaking bread together and seeing the humanity behind an abstract policy.

"And one example of that was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where we hosted our first dinner. I had to my left a hardcore Trump voter and across the table from me was a DACA recipient, a Dreamer. And to watch this person next to me who had really strong opinions on immigration see the humanity of a real Dreamer, a real DACA recipient. To see how their life was transformed when President Obama made that announcement and what their life looks like today verses the day before DACA was announced. His life was changed by that. Because we're not getting that story."

There's more information about Undivided Nation here.

Bill Burton is the Morning Edition host for LPM. Email Bill at bburton@lpm.org.

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