Matthew Dowd, chief political analyst for ABC News, has a message for politicians and the American people. It’s time to come together and figure out what we want this country to be. With an unpredictable future on the horizon, Dowd believes people need to stop focusing on who is wrong on each side and start figuring out what is right for both sides.
Dowd speaks from a breadth of political experience. Over the years, he has worked for both Republican and Democratic politicians around the country; most notably for President George W. Bush on the 2000 and 2004 campaigns.
It’s no surprise that much of Dowd’s rhetoric encompasses reaching across the aisle, eliminating blind partisanship. Before being approached by Bush and becoming a strong advocate for the past president, Dowd spent 20 years working for Democrats.
His experience with Bush throws a spotlight on much of Dowd’s political philosophy. Dowd was initially attracted to Bush’s message because he believed that the Texan could unite the American people, bringing together the opposing sides in Washington, D.C.
However, over the years, Dowd became frustrated by the president’s actions. He came to believe that Bush was ignoring the will of the American people with regard to the war in Iraq, and that he failed to pull Americans together in a time of conflict. Subsequently, Dowd left the Bush administration. .
What’s more, Dowd’s life story shows that anyone can become heavily involved in politics, fighting to make a difference. Dowd comes from humble beginnings; he was one of 11 children raised in a Catholic, Detroit household. The political turmoil of Watergate inspired Dowd to delve into the political arena. He was enthralled by the unraveling of an administration and seeing the strength of a Constitution being tested. He wanted to be a part of it. All it takes is one spark, something that people are passionate about, to inspire them to affect change.
Inspiring people to rise up, to be leaders themselves is a major theme in Dowd’s book, "A New Way: Embracing the Paradox as We Lead and Serve." In it, Dowd lets Americans know that even if their candidates let them down, they can find ways to lead — without them.
Dowd argues that the greatest power is local power, and that leaders in Washington right now are not leading. This means the American people need to engage and lead their politicians to the right choices.
Dowd openly worries about the state of democracy in this country. He is concerned that people are isolating themselves within their own parties, with their own ideas, while refusing to listen to opposing views. Dowd thinks what’s important is not connecting as Republicans or Democrats, but connecting as people. People are more than their politics. If they dig deep down, they'll find fundamental similarities to one another.
For Dowd, this meaningful connection is what's missing between Republican and Democratic politicians. There is no empathy between them. The left doesn’t bother to try and understand why the right would support policies it does, and vice versa.
Matthew Dowd argues that what’s most important is that politicians and the American people expose themselves to ideas they don’t agree with; that they concurrently avail themselves of regional and local struggles nationwide, especially those with which they are most unfamiliar. Ideas are the needs and desires of real people all across the country.
All Americans need to understand that what we’re talking about when we discuss differing politcal platforms, and that ideas are the needs and desires of real people nationwide, not just check-boxes on a ballot or buzzwords in a debate.
Dowd recognizes that the U.S. is divided and that people are worried about the future, but he sees this as a positive in an exciting time, an era in which real change is possible.
During the special election in Alabama between Judge Roy Moore and Doug Jones, Matt Dowd called into the radio show I co-host giving some very insightful analysis on how Moore’s nomination showed the level of tribalism in politics had risen to new heights.
The thing I admire most about this political analyst is that he's always able to identify the deeper issues at play — in any political debate. Though I don’t always see eye to eye with his political views I can honestly say that he is truly of the wisest men I know. His book, "A New Way" is powerful because Matt doesn’t talk about his successes but discusses his failures in a manner revealing a humble heart, a rare trait for those who work in media.
In sum, Dowd’s perspective is a powerful one. Though America no doubt faces challenging times, they would be made easier if people and politicians work to understand each other, fighting together for what the country needs.
Special thanks to Katherine Pickle, my law clerk who attends Emory School of Law, and Daniel Bruce, my chief consultant and contributor to Rouser News, for their help writing, researching, and editing this article.