Election 2020

Bridget Phetasy: What American Politics Can Learn From Alcoholics Anonymous

The podcaster and comedian offers a 12-step plan for political independence and recovery.


"Democracy doesn't die in the darkness," writes Bridget Phetasy, "it dies when politics become team sports, in full view of a bloodthirsty, cheering electorate."

Phetasy is a popular podcaster, comedian, and writer who a year ago penned a great column titled "The battle cry of the politically homeless." She followed it up just a few days ago with an equally powerful piece called "Why I won't vote," which channels the frustration felt by the 41-percent plurality of us who are political independents. "This is the best we've got," she says of presidential contenders Joe Biden and Donald Trump. "Do I poke out my left eye? Or my right eye?"

Nick Gillespie speaks with Phetasy about what she thinks has to happen for politics to improve. A former heroin addict and recovering alcoholic, she says that Democratic and Republican hyper-partisans would benefit from some of the lessons about personal responsibility and optimism taught by Alcohol Anonymous; she even offers her own 12-step program for electoral independence and recovery. She also talks about whether Generation Z is completely post-gender, how new platforms continue to create new ways for creators and audiences to circumvent legacy media, and why things are generally getting much better culturally even if politics are getting much worse.