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James Carville and Reince Priebus Find Common Ground on Democracy Post-Midterms

The veteran Democratic and Republican strategists chart a path forward for good governance at USC

Sherman, CT, November 18, 2022 – Yesterday Common Ground Committee (CGC), a nonpartisan, citizen-led nonprofit dedicated to reducing polarization, held their latest public forum — Finding Common Ground on the State of our Democracy — that brought together political icon James Carville and former White House Chief of Staff (2017) and Republican National Committee Chair (2011-2017) Reince Priebus at the University of Southern California. The two discussed the steps to good governance after a contentious election cycle. The event was moderated by Bob Shrum, Director of the Dornsife Center for the Political Future at USC, CGC’s primary partner in the event.

The forum was CGC’s second in-person event of the year, following a discussion on guns between Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and former Congressman Will Hurd (R-TX) at George Washington University.

“With the midterms behind us, it’s time for Democrats and Republicans to put the vitriol of the campaign trail behind them and work together to get the work of the people done,” said Bruce Bond, Co-Founder and CEO of Common Ground Committee. “Throughout the discussion, Carville and Priebus outlined sensible steps both sides can take to bring progress back to Washington.”

Over the course of the evening, Carville and Priebus discussed the outcome of the midterms and how liberals and conservatives can work together to strengthen our democracy. Specific points of common ground found during the evening include:

  • Both Democrats and Republicans benefit from vibrant, competitive primaries.
  • The perception of a do-nothing Congress is influenced by the constant drumbeat of negativity. From infrastructure to marriage equality, there has actually been a lot of common ground found.
  • Dark, secret money in politics has a corrosive effect and we must do something to limit its impact.

After a surprising midterm, Carville said that Americans yearn for new, young leadership. “You cannot tell me there aren’t enough people under the age of 75 in this country to run this country,” Carville said. “I think this country is just clamoring for new leadership. You can’t do this job in your 80s.”

Both speakers agreed that the media has a vested interest in promoting division. “If you’re dividing you’re in. You can see it with people writing books after leaving the White House,” Priebus explained. “The books that sell are those who’re slinging mud. Why? Because dividing sells.”

For interview requests, please contact Zach Halper at or 862-224-3233


About Common Ground Committee
Common Ground Committee (CGC) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) citizen-led organization dedicated to bringing healing to the national challenges of polarization and incivility. Since its founding in 2009, CGC has held 19 public forums featuring panelists who have reached over 250 points of consensus. Panelists have included such notable pairings as John Kerry and Condoleezza Rice, Chris Murphy and Will Hurd, David Petraeus and Susan Rice, Michael Steele and Donna Brazile, Chris Wallace and Maggie Haberman, and Larry Kudlow and Barney Frank, exploring issues ranging from race and income inequality to foreign policy. CGC produces the Let’s Find Common Ground podcast series, which has had over 200,000 downloads and over 100,000 subscribers. CGC also created the Common Ground Scorecard, a voting tool that scores politicians and candidates for public office on their likelihood to find common ground with the opposite party. Free of political agenda and financial influence, CGC has a singular focus on bringing light, not heat, to public discourse.