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Why all the fear of a lost ideal of collaboration? While it’s not necessarily a bad thing when the two parties are in harmony, it isn’t automatically a good thing either. Often times, terrible, terrible things can happen when Republicans and Democrats agree to come to an agreement. In other cases, virulently partisan legislative solutions are the best policy. And if you look closely enough at the rosy, hazy past, you will often find that the pure ideal of bipartisanism turns out to be pure political horse-trading as one party concedes a vote that is not important to them to convince the opposing party to lose a position that is not particularly important to them.
When we leaf through American history books, it is easy to find examples of bipartisanship that we regret. The internment of citizens of Japanese origin? Two-partisans. The Patriot Act and the Iraq War? Two-partisans. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution? The Law in Defense of Marriage? The ultra-complicated tax code? President Bill Clinton’s Crime Act? All non-partisan up to the maximum if there had only been a little less cooperation between the parties at the time and a more critical examination of what they actually voted on. Proponents of Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, 1960s civil rights legislation, and other radical measures will tell you that if lawmakers had worshiped the grail of bipartisanism, those measures would never have been passed.
You should reach for your wallet every time a politician makes a plea for non-partisanship to look for “common ground” or to rise above politics or “reject cynicism”. There is nothing more political than to claim that your position is above politics and that your enemies’ positions are soaked in it. Observe self-proclaimed “centrists” who, as compromise keepers, claim to be the guiding principle of non-partisanship. Centrism is a position no less pronounced than liberalism or conservatism. Also, beware of the so-called bipartisan presidential commissions that various White Houses have convened. As the Chicago TribuneSteve Chapman noted in 2014 that it is usually a strategy that is not aimed at bringing the warring sides together but rather to provide a believable shroud to kick the can farther down the street. “The Documents are a delightful feast for editors, but a bowl of day-long dog food for the people who make politics,” concluded Chapman.
For anyone who has watched Washington change over the years, it’s clear that the bipartisan creed represents nostalgia for a time – which began to fade in the late 1960s – when what was considered bipartisan extreme partiality under a different name. Back then, the two parties had even more ideological diversity in their ranks: there were liberal Republicans like John Lindsay, who now called political taxonomists for a Democrat (he eventually became one), and conservative Democrats like Strom Thurmond, who acted like a Republican (Er eventually became one). The jockeying for votes in those days created an illusion of Republicans and Democrats working together, as often the natural liberals of both parties would gather on the natural conservatives on the hill.
In the 1970s, politicians aggressively sorted themselves into the party closest to their position and ended the simple placement with the “other side”. It is not only because of a failure of character that there is no bipartisanism in the style of the 1960s today: it cannot exist. All Liberals are in the Democratic Party and all Conservatives are Republicans. The species that did this “bipartisan” business is as extinct as the ivory-billed woodpecker. Let’s call it a cryptozoological search.
Neither of these analyzes suggests that the two parties should never work together to pass laws. But as news consumers and voters, we need to remember that the halo that raises reporters and experts and politicians themselves above “bipartisanism” is a shame. And if it ain’t shit, it’s a rhetorical stick that politicians use to brand themselves as noble and sensible, while beating their opponents as petty and vengeful.
Despite their groans of protest over the end of bipartisanism, members of Congress understand what is going on: the old school housing is largely dead, and Congress has evolved into a de facto-parliamentary system where the majority does everything. The best way to get legislation passed is to win more seats. If you believe in majority rule, forget about converting: gather a majority and start ruling.
The most bipartisan presidential candidate in 2020 was Michael Bloomberg. He spent $ 1 billion to attract 31 delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Send billions in bitcoin to [email protected]. My email notifications are painfully non-partisan Twitter account is a centrist, and my RSS feed thinks Mao is soft.