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Arthur Brooks: The Case for “Trait-Trespassing” Politicians

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For years, conservative politicians have been charged with indifference toward the plight of the poor and vulnerable, accused of caring more about hedge fund managers than people who trim hedges.

When pollsters ask questions like “Who cares more about people like you?,” Democrats consistently come out on top.

Most Republicans acknowledge this, but many just shrug, concluding that the way to win is to be redder than red, choosing to emphasize strength and moral uprightness …forget about the soft stuff. Similarly, Democrats fixate on empathy and compassion and neglect the rest.

This explains our current depressing political stalemate.

But Americans don’t want to choose between compassion and morality, or between leadership and empathy. We want leaders who have all these traits … Republicans with genuine empathy and Democrats who extol strong national leadership.

Scrambling the conventional categories would not merely shift electoral dynamics. It would improve our country.

A few more “trait-trespassing” politicians would give all citizens the competition of ideas we deserve.

-Arthur Brooks

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