The Wisdom in Bipartisanship

By: Ron Israel | July 9, 2021

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Many political observers question President Biden’s emphasis on bipartisanship. Why they ask should Biden put so much emphasis on bipartisanship when the other side of the aisle doesn’t seem interested.

Indeed today’s Republican party presents itself  as a group of politicians aligned with former President Trump and his “big lie” that the election was stolen; who seem to want to see the Biden administration fail at all costs; who place power and party over country. The party’s Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, has pledged a platform of non-cooperation with the Biden agenda.

So what gives with President Biden? Why does he seem to be so obsessed with bipartisanship? The answer I believe is that Biden sees  the main goal of his presidency to be the preservation of our democracy; to heal it from the wounds  of the Trump administration.  Biden sees bipartisan  legislative agreement is a means to help achieve his  goal.

And his approach may be beginning to work. Last month a bipartisan group of Republican and Democratic Senators agreed to a  $1.2 trillion “hard infrastructure” bill to repeal America’s broken, bridges ports, and roads. While the bill has many hurdles to cross before being signed into law, it is an important signal that, even in this polarizing time, bipartisanship may be possible. Biden is trying to be a President for all Americans and his infrastructure bill is intended for everyone and not just for Democrats at the exclusion of Republicans.

Historically bipartisanship  in most cases involves compromise. It means reaching an agreement on an issue that may disappoint those on both sides  on the  extreme ends of a political argument. But without compromise  our country for the past several decades has languished in political gridlock as our quality of life diminishes.

So Biden may be justified in his obsession with bipartisanship. Bipartisan political  agreement may be an important way of restoring Americans’  faith in our democratic system. It also might help drive a wedge between pro-Trump extreme right wingers and moderate Republicans who see the wisdom  in bipartisan legislation.

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