Outside Union Station in Washington, D.C.

Outside Union Station in Washington, D.C.

It’s a classic complaint about D.C.: federal bureaucrats are too caught up in red tape and out of touch with the American public. But that sentiment, which is now driving voters in the presidential election, has rarely been examined from the perspective of federal workers. Now, two Johns Hopkins University political scientists have surveyed unelected civil servants and policy makers — the people who keep the government running — about their attitudes toward, and knowledge of, the public. The results are disheartening. Kojo finds out how Washington’s workers view the American people and examines ways those living in D.C.’s “bubble” can narrow the gap between official perceptions and reality.


  • Jennifer Bachner Director, Master of Science in Government Analytics Program, Johns Hopkins University; Author, "What Washington Gets Wrong: The Unelected Officials Who Actually Run the Government and Their Misconceptions About the American People"
  • Dan Tangherlini President, SeamlessDocs Federal; former Administrator, General Services Administration (GSA)

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