John Avlon: "How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America"


"Politics is the last place where we're supposed to be satisfied between Brand A and Brand B," says John Avlon, author of the engaging new book Wingnuts: How The Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America.

Hyper-partisans and rhetorical extremists on the left and the right-characters such as Reps. Alan Grayson and Michele Bachmann, commentators such as Keith Olbermann and Glenn Beck-are not simply polarizing the debate, argues Avlon, who is a regular presence on CNN and a columnist for The Daily Beast.

Far more importantly (and destructively), they are obscuring the fact that the U.S. electorate is, in the main, proto-libertarian. Independents are the fastest-growing group of voters, says Avlon and, "They tend to be fiscally conservative and socially liberal to libertarian." Avlon is also the author of Independent Nation: How Centrism Can Change American Politics.

Reason.tv's Nick Gillespie sat down with Avlon in Reason's D.C. offices. Filmed by Dan Hayes and Meredith Bragg; edited by Bragg. Approximately 10 minutes.

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