Monday, January 30, 2012

Bipartisanship, Divided Government and the Washington Deal

An article on the relationship between bipartisanship and divided or united government (one-party controlling Congress and presidency). Does divided government create situations in which compromise is a must? Or is the current political environment too polarized, where divided government is inefficient and only creates gridlock. The authors argue that bipartisanship is a thing of the past, that it is unlikely that any sweeping "Washington Deals" will occur anytime soon.

I found this article particularly interesting in the context of our readings for Wednesday...that unless some serious shifts occur in modern day liberal and conservative thought, it is very unlikely conservatives and liberals will ever be able to work together for substantive change.


TJE said...

Interesting piece Amy. For most of the post-WWII period, political scientists found, divided government and unified government produced major legislation at about the same rate. But the last decade or so may have produced a hyperpartisanship that makes grand bargains impossible.

Lachlan said...

Sen. DeMint just spoke at Heritage and addressed this issue. He compared the current political climate to the Super Bowl: there are two teams working towards opposite ends of the field - in general, one fighting for more centralized power over the country, and one fighting against it. Those two goals are not just irreconcilable, they are are diametrically opposed. That makes compromise difficult, if not impossible. Belichick and Coughlin are not likely to tell their teams to compromise, because they're trying to drive the ball to opposite ends of the field.

In other words, the gridlock in Washington is not a product of base partisanship or the dehumanization of one's political opponents, but of the fact that the country is at a crossroads. It can go down one political path or the other, and it is not in either side's interests to cede ground, given that each is working towards its own set of objectives. When there is no common ground in the end game, there's not likely to be much agreement in how to proceed.