Reduce the Rancor,
Minnesota

"Polarization has infected virtually every aspect of our society. With our many partners spanning the entire state, we now will be able to invite every single person in Minnesota to have an experience that opens the door to changing how they view the other side. We’re not out to change anyone’s positions on issues but to change how they relate to each other."

--Jeff Thiemann, Co-chair, Reduce the Rancor, Minnesota

The problem

Our national life -- from local schools to cities, towns, state legislatures and Congress -- has increasingly become a zone of disrespect and hostility, leading to paralysis in public policy and divisiveness in our communities, families, and friendship circles. Though Minnesota faces the same challenges, we have leaders and everyday citizens who know how to reduce the rancor and show other states how to do it. This does not mean giving up cherished values or policy beliefs. It means learning to disagree better, with respect rather than rancor. 

Campaign co-sponsors

Both major political party chairs in Minnesota are co-sponsors. They are from left: Ken Martin, chair  of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party; David Hann chairman of of the Minnesota Republican Party as they were interviewed by Bill Doherty, Braver Angels co-founder at the March 11 campaign launch event.

Photo by Jerad Morey, director of strategic relationships, Minnesota Council of Churches, from http://mnchurches.org/blog/2024/04/4/reduce-rancor

Reduce the Rancor, Minnesota campaign


This is a statewide campaign to reduce hostile polarization in public life. Championed by the state chairs of the two main political parties, the campaign is a partnership with Braver Angels and about 25 organizations of elected officials, interested citizens, colleges and universities, civic, religious and business leaders, and other nonprofits. A key feature is that partner organizations will promote the campaign and offer depolarizing activities. We invite individual Minnesotans to take at least one action that will lower the political divisiveness in a challenging election year. 

Upcoming Reduce the Rancor events and activities

     See the Events and Get Involved pages

Recent events and activities

Campaign partners

In addition to the chairs of the Minnesota  Republican Party (David Hann) and the Minnesota DFL (Ken Martin), other endorsers and participants include the organizations listed below.

Often, the missions of these organizations fit well within the purpose of this campaign.

Campaign partners line up to speak about why they are joining the campaign. More organizations are expected to join the initiative. 

Photo by Scott Schluter


   Colleges/Universities

College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University

Gustavus Adolphus College

Macalester College

St. Mary’s University

St. Olaf College

University of Minnesota, Morris

University of Minnesota Rochester

University of Minnesota Twin Cities

University of Northwestern, St. Paul

University of St. Thomas


Professional Associations

Advocates for Better Health
        (formerly the Twin Cities Medical Society)

Minnesota Association of School Administrators

Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

Minnesota Medical Association

Elected Officials Associations

Association of Minnesota Counties

Minnesota School Boards Association


Civic Organizations
Citizens League

League of Women Voters of Minnesota

Majority in the Middle

Minnesota Humanities Center

Minnesota Justice Research Center

Rotary District 5960, Roseville


Religious Organizations

Episcopal Church in Minnesota

Minnesota Council of Churches

Transform  Minnesota: the evangelical network


Media

Minnesota Public Radio

Here's what our partners are saying

Laurel Ries M.D., President, Minnesota Medical Association
"We are expecting one in three rural physicians to retire in the next five years. And part of that is being driven by rancor or burnout. Nobody's out there saying we should be less healthy. We all want to be healthy. We have different strategies for how to get there. But health is a common goal."

Carlos Tellez, Faculty, University of Northwestern St. Paul
"One of my hopes is I want students to walk away thinking that it is OK to seek understanding, if not agreement. You don't have to just make people walk over to see things from your point of view. You can walk the distance and see it from their point of view. If my students can do that, I think we're going to have a much better future."


Julie Dolan, Faculty, Macalester College
"I think there's a grassroots desire to hear more from the other side because Macalester is a very left-leaning campus. And, in my work as a political scientist, I see what's happening in our country and am trying to figure out ways to facilitate better understanding amongst our students in the classroom."


Jake Loesch, Executive Director, Citizens League
"We've been in Minnesota since about 1952. And we're really focused on civic engagement and public policy solutions and how we can bridge divides to

bring people together to have the best policy outcomes for the state of Minnesota and everyone who lives here. There are so many reasons that this initiative fits with our organization. It's an absolute privilege to stand up here alongside so many leaders today. I'm really looking forward to the work that we all can do together. I appreciate the opportunity."

What individuals can do on their own 

MPR's Talking Sense  is an online and in-person platform to help Minnesotans have hard conversations, better. Talking Sense offers Minnesotans ways to think through challenging political conversations in advance, without letting the need to “win” and change minds stand in the way of preserving important relationships.  Talking Sense also features Have Hard Conversations Better, an online and in-person platform to help you navigate difficult conversations, despite political differences.


Complete a free Braver Angels eCourse on the national Braver Angels site. Taken at your convenience, these online courses take about 40 minutes each. They can help you understand hostile polarization and how you can personally alleviate its effects. Visit the Braver Angels national website for Take an eCourse; Depolarizing Within is recommended.


Participate in a Braver Angels workshop or Reduce the Rancor event. See the Events page.


Ask your organization to become a Braver Angels partner and sponsor events Contact mn-coordinators@braverangels.org

Invite a Braver Angels ambassador to speak to your organization. Presentations can be limited to an hour or be longer   for more depth and an exercise. Contact mn-coordinators@braverangels.org.

Join Braver Angels. Membership is $12 a year. To join and donate directly to the Minnesota State Alliance, visit Contact Us, then click on Alliances You will be able to attend in-person and online events, such as debates, workshops, book and film discussions.

Sign up for Braver Angels newsletters. The Minnesota Braver Angels newsletter is emailed about twice a month and features upcoming events and other items. The national newsletter is emailed once a week. You can sign up for both newsletters on the Braver Angels homepage and scrolling to the bottom. You can set your preferences for the national newsletter and other communications at the bottom of the national newsletter. 

Join a local Braver Angels alliance. Meet people who hold different views and want to engage in hearing the "other side." Enjoy meaty conversations. Some alliances also hold social events. [link to alliances] If there isn’t one in your area, we can help you start one. Contact mn-coordinators@braverangels.org.

Become a Braver Angels volunteer. We have lots of opportunities that can fit your interests and schedule. We know you're busy people with full lives. Contact mn-coordinators@braverangels.org.

Reduce the Rancor, Minnesota campaign co-chairs


Bill Doherty is a co-founder of Braver Angels and the designer of the Braver Angels workshop approach. Doherty is a professor and director of the Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project in the Department of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota. He combines a background in family therapy and community engagement.

Rev. Jeff Thiemann recently retired as president and chief executive officer of Portico Benefit Services, a separately incorporated ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He has been an active volunteer in Braver Angels at the national and state levels.