Bipartisanship


Bipartisanship, sometimes referred to as nonpartisanship, is a political situation, usually in the context of a two-party system (especially those of the United States and some other western countries), in which opposing political parties find common ground through compromise. Partisanship is the antonym, where an individual or political party adhere only to its interests without compromise.

There have been periods of bipartisanship in American politics, such as when the Republicans supported legislation by Democratic President Lyndon Johnson in the early 1960s, and when Democrats worked with Republican President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. It is claimed that the non-partisanship in foreign policy was a precursor to the concept of modern bipartisanship in U.S. politics. This was articulated in 1912 by President Taft, who stated that the fundamental foreign policies of the United States should be raised above party differences. In recent years, this was also shown in the case of President H. W. Bush's administration, which began with an atmosphere of bipartisanship on foreign policy in Washington. During this period, the concept of bipartisanship implied a consensus not only between the two parties but also the executive and legislative branches of the government to implement foreign policy. This was seen in the article Bipartisan Objectives for American Foreign Policy, authored by Henry Kissinger, President Nixon's Secretary of State, and Cyrus Vance, who was Secretary during President Carter's administration.

In the United States in 2010, however, there was wide disagreement between the Republicans and Democrats because the minority party has been voting as a bloc against major legislation, according to James Fallows in The Atlantic. In 2010, the minority party has the ability to "discipline its ranks" so that none join the majority, and this situation in the Congress is unprecedented, according to Fallows. He sees this inability to have bipartisanship as evidence of a "structural failure of American government."Adviser to President Obama, Rahm Emanuel, said the period from 2008–2010 was marked by extreme partisanship


Case Study: Biden and Congress

How was Biden able to achieve this success give the high levels of partisanship in Congress?

He was willing to compromise- to the extent that many progressive d Democrats felt he had given up too much. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act focuses on investments in roads, railways, bridges and broadband internet, but it does not include investments that Biden has referred to as "human infrastructure," including money allocated for child care and tax credits for families. Democrats are looking to address those priorities separately.

Biden is highly experienced in negotiating deals in Congress. His decades long career as a Senator provide him with personal relationships and knowledge of how Congress works. He is also learning from his experience as Vice President when he felt that Obama had not been ambitious enough. The vote, 69 to 30, was unusually bipartisan. The yes votes even included Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, and 18 others from his party who shrugged off pressure by former President Donald J. Trump to derail it.

Biden has used timing well. He is still in the honeymoon period of his presidency. In the first two years most presidents achieve their biggest legislative successes. Public opinion polls suggested the drive to upgrade America’s infrastructure, a product of months of negotiations between the White House and a bipartisan group of senators, was broadly popular.