Heightened partisanship, declining confidence in institutions, and the rise of issue polarization have taken a toll on decades-old models for promoting policy change through centrist bipartisan coalitions. With traditional paths of policy entrepreneurship and compromise blocked, new ideas are not finding their way into the system, and outdated policies and structures are not being replaced.
The New Models of Policy Change project at New America studied one model which is producing interesting policy change at the local and national level: transpartisanship.
The paths taken on issues from sentencing reform to changes in Pentagon ending to resi ance to government surveillance share a common thread: they were all a result of tran artisan cooperation. By transpartisan, we mean an approach to advocacy in which, rather than emerging from political elites at the center, 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 a very different worldview. Unlike traditional bipartisan coalitions, which begin in the center, the established, centrist politicians and institutions are often the last to recognize and embrace a transpartisan vision.
The project has also produced a practitioners’ handbook, identifying qualities that equip think tankers, advocates and civic entrepreneurs alike for a world in which more and more of our policy advocacy mu cross partisan, cultural, professional and other divides.