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Key Facts

Don't Give Up on Democracy
Starting with a Question
In 2019, researchers conducted an experiment in deliberative democracy called America in One Room. Five hundred thirty Americans from across the country were invited to Texas as a representative sample of the entire country. They set out to discover whether people from a variety of backgrounds could gather and have civil discussions about important and controversial policy issues.
The Right Factors
Participants spent four days discussing topics like the economy, health care, immigration, the environment, and foreign policy. Their discussions were informed by unbiased briefing papers, which presented the pros and cons of different policy options. And neutral moderators ensured a safe space for respectful dialogue. The results were uplifting.
Open Minds
When assembled in small groups, the participants did not divide themselves along partisan lines. Conversations focused on issues rather than personal attacks. Because participants felt respected and heard, they were even willing to rethink their views when presented with new evidence.
Democracy Isn’t Dead
The results of the experiment clearly show that Americans have not given up on democracy. But restoring faith in our system will require an intentional and genuine effort to engage with those holding other views.