A longtime friend sent along this article by a journalist who took training in mediation, and began to see what might be done differently in our political discussions. It references Jonathan Haidt's work, so I'm in already, but it also introduced me to the Center for Narrative and Conflict Resolution at George Mason, and the Difficult Conversations Lab at Columbia, neither of which I had heard of. It's nice to know someone's trying to unlock some secrets.
The idea that attempting to complicate the discussion rather than simplify it reduces tension seems intuitively true to me, as reality tends to be messy and complicated. Whether that actually is so you will have to find out somewhere else.