Our own Michael D. Ostrolenk recently shared a fantastic article from the New America website asking “What will policymaking look like beyond 2017?” Author Chayenne Polimédio, a Research Associate for their Political Reform Program, explores how a “new model of policymaking” will be found in Transpartisanship. From her article…
Transpartisanship, as a strategy, challenges the traditional understanding that, to create successful coalitions, political elites ought to meet at the center to find a compromise, which sometimes means giving up fundamental ideological positions on issues. Which is fine in theory, but, as Grover Norquist said, “More often than not, the bipartisan compromise is exactly what we have now: gridlock.” And, where bipartisanship is the model, we do have gridlock. But so, too, do we have transpartisanship. Unlike traditional bipartisan coalitions, which begin in the center, transpartisanship means that new policy ideas emerge instead from unlikely corners of the right or left and find allies on the other side, who come to the same idea from different worldviews. Both sides are willing to work together because of their strong ideologies, and not despite them. Consider, for example, the case of criminal justice reform, in which liberals who wanted to break the cycles of inequality that have arisen from the prison-industrial complex and libertarians who wanted to spend less were able to work together—without compromising in the slightest.
— from the article How Conservatives and Progressives Will Work Together Next Year by Chayenne Polimédio
The New America website explores Transpartisanship on many levels. In an expanded report Chayenne Polimédio digs deeper, along with co-author Heather Hurlburt, into how the transpartisan approach can overcome polarization:
In a transpartisan approach, coalitions are not built outward from centrist political elites. Rather, policy proposals are championed by unlikely allies from the right and left, who may have very different ideological justifications for the same policy. Policy entrepreneurs recruit political endorsers from one or both sides. Thus, ideas are validated as legitimately liberal, progressive, conservative and/ or libertarian—not as a watered-down-compromise among ideologies—before they reach the legislative fray. Allies and supporters can then be recruited from multiple factions without compromising their core ideological stances.
— from the policy paper Can Transpartisan Coalitions Overcome Polarization? by Heather Hurlburt and Chayenne Polimédio
A quick search of their website will uncover their dedication in exploring the impact of the Transpartisan Impulse. Several policy papers, articles and even event topics delve deeper into the influence of Transpartisanship (or the lack there of in examples of legislative failure). For example, their Strange Bedfellows paper series “examines how new policy ideas emerge from unlikely corners of the right or left, and find allies on the other side who may come to the same idea from very different worldviews—a transpartisan approach”. One example, Spreading the Gospel of Climate Change by Steven M. Teles and Lydia Bean, examined the 2009-10 effort to leverage evangelical Christians to pass climate change legislation, and why it failed.
Many more articles and reports from New America exploring Transpartisanship can be found here.
New America is a think tank and civic enterprise committed to renewing American politics, prosperity, and purpose in the Digital Age. Check out their website at www.newamerica.org.