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. The New Models of Policy Change project at New America studies alternative models that are producing interesting policy change at the local and national level: transpartisanship.
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.
New America has studied these coalitions for several years, producing case studies, practitioners’ handbook, articles and workshops considering, across issue areas, how policy advocacy must cross partisan, cultural, professional and other divides to build coalitions for progress. We have begun groundbreaking dialogues on how cross-party divides will reshape trade and security policy in the years ahead, pulling together unprecedented coalitions of experts and advocates both apolitical and with strong associations on the left, center, and neo-conservative and libertarian right -- in many cases, individuals who work on the same policy issues but have never met. Through research, convenings and writing, we document the shapes that political realignment is taking, identify policy-level overlaps that can transcend polarization, and offer our unique networking capacities to be a place where policy entrepreneurs meet, hear new ideas, and form relationships. In addition, New Models is now advising half a dozen foundations and funder affinity groups, on a one-time or ongoing basis -- providing a unique opportunity to put the range of Political Reform program insights into the hands of decision-makers who shape the field.