The current political climate in the U.S. is not good. Anyone can easily see there is a divide that seems to keep getting bigger with no indication of anyone moving back towards the middle anytime soon.
The division makes it incredibly difficult for anything to happen of significance. It also creates a volatile society where people clash too easily.
The solution for it is not easy. Times when the country has been more united usually come about when bipartisanship occurs.
The Current State of Bipartisanship
Bipartisanship, according to Wikipedia, is when opposing political parties can work together, compromise, and find common ground. Since 2010, the United States has had a huge struggle with bipartisanship.
Each party seems to have a distinct agenda and no desire to work with the other side. Members of each party will only vote for their own party’s agenda and vote against the other party’s agenda. The result is one party blocking the other from accomplishing anything.
With the parties far apart on many issues and only moving further apart, it makes it tough to get anything done on a national level. The current state of bipartisanship is that it doesn’t exist and seems like something impossible.
The History of Bipartisanship
The Washington Post explains that bipartisanship has never been normal in the U.S. The two-party system has always dominated politics.
There have been periods where parties have worked together. However, these often last only for a short time or for specific causes. Often, they end up being situations that occur due to public demand that the parties work together and get something specific done.
One example is the CARES Act of 2020. This was a bill in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It helped infuse the economy with money and assist those most impacted by the pandemic and resulting restrictions. Both sides decided to come together and iron out a tolerable solution. However, after passing the act, Congress immediately returned to partisan politics.
The main issue with partisanship is that one party will propose a bill that on the surface looks reasonable. However, they include additional items within the bill that distract from the main purpose. These are often things with which they know the other party will not be happy.
The bottom line here is that the country has learned over time how to accomplish goals within a partisan system. They realize that bipartisanship is not a requirement to achieve goals. They only need a moment of it here and there to make things work.
The trouble with this mindset is that it creates a lot of turmoil within the federal government. When both sides see no need to come together with the other, everyone remains quite split. The result here is the public follows suit, which has led to a lot of hostile situations and serious problems in American society.
The Future of Bipartisanship
Looking at the past, it is easy to feel like there is no way for bipartisanship to ever happen in the U.S. That is a terrifying outlook because a partisan government doesn’t accomplish much. It cannot create wide-reaching laws or make significant impacts on the country because one side will not let that happen.
Even when one party takes control of Congress and the White House, there is still a divide in society. In this situation, it is even more dangerous. If the partisan lawmakers decide to implement changes and take advantage of their power, it sets the stage for political upheaval. Those in society that are on the other side will not likely sit by idly while one party runs rampant over the country.
To create a bipartisan government, there has to be a willingness from both sides to work with those with whom they disagree. It requires letting go of extreme ideas within their party and focusing on small steps to reach agreements.
Lawmakers have to find common ground. They need to be able to have discussions and must stop the practice of drawing a line in the sand where they refuse to move forward. Lawmakers should not follow a philosophy of its my way or no way.
They need to be open to hearing the other side. It’s impossible to reach agreements when you go into a negotiation with hard rules. You have to be willing to bend when you are working towards bipartisanship.
Essentially, it takes laying aside partisan tactics. Lawmakers must open their eyes and try to see what the other side sees. Open discussions are an important part of the process as is media that is willing to report on both sides, such as No Labels.
The current climate in Washington is doing everything wrong. There are lines drawn in the sand. Everyone seems to refuse to see other points of view. Nobody wants to work together. So, for now at least, bipartisanship is just a far-off dream.
The Last Word
It is completely in the hands of politicians when it comes to creating bipartisanship in the U.S. government. Until the people begin to stand up to partisan politics and elect only those willing to work together, it seems like bipartisanship is not going to happen.