Why American Politics is Screwed Up | Jon Schaff | TEDxRapidCity

Few will deny that American politics is screwed up. Constant negativity, petty partisanship, the outsized power of interest groups, and the inability of Congress to govern all seem to define our politics today. Jon D. Schaff argues that, paradoxically, our politics are partisan not because our parties are too strong, but because they are too weak. Money infects our politics not because we have too few regulations on political fundraising, but because we have too many. In a discussion of the history of party politics and political reform in the United States, he argues that an increased role for political parties and an easier time raising money would help our politics return to a greater sanity. Jon D. Schaff is Professor of Political Science at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. He teaches courses on the American Presidency, American Political Thought, and Politics and Film, among other courses. He is widely quoted in media discussing South Dakota politics and presidential politics. He has published on presidential “first hundred days,” the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, and the political thought of Alexis de Tocqueville and has contributed to edited volumes on George McGovern and South Dakota political culture. He is author of Lincoln and the Limits of Liberal Democracy: Statesmanship and Presidential Power (forthcoming, Southern Illinois University Press) and co-author of Age of Anxiety: Meaning, Identity, and Politics in 21st Century Film and Literature (forthcoming, Lexington Books). This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

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