A dirty word

In addition to Democrats and Republicans, Americans have the choice to align themselves with a wide variety of established parties. There is a huge list of political parties in the U.S. including everything from the ‘Communist Party of the United States’ to the ‘United States Marijuana Party’.* This is one of the beautiful things about being an American. We have the liberty and freedom to plant our flag and advocate for our beliefs and causes. Of course even with all these options our federal legislature (save two Senators) is comprised wholly of Democrats and Republicans. Some of this is the electorate and some of this are particular state rules and laws that make it difficult for outside parties to get on ballots.

We can easily acknowledge and accept the fact that our American brethren can join whatever party they want and believe what they want to believe, so why then, is something as simple as bipartisanship a dirty word among representatives of our two major parties? Why is believing in compromise and working together increasingly a detrimental trait for elected officials? One of the main reasons for this is the system that many of our states use to create political districts. The vast majority of states use a method of drawing Congressional districts that relies heavily on a system that is, by design, heavily political. Of course this has not always been the case and does not always have to be the case in the future.

When state legislatures are tasked with drawing Congressional districts it simply opens the door for partisan gerrymandering that works to make districts non-competitive. When districts are gerrymandered to the degree that many are, it is a detriment to the representatives in those districts to reach across party lines to get things done. I, along with many Americans, am appalled at the ineffectiveness of our federal legislature. I also have over forty years in Washington and can remember many years when this was not the case. A time when we could send people to Washington and they could work with their colleagues to represent the interests and make deals and compromises to get things done.

We, as the voting public, have the ability to change the system. We don’t have to sit back and wait for the courts to look at these issues. Just as we get out the vote on specific credit union and social issues, we can go to our state legislatures and local elected officials and make redistricting a priority. There are options for redistricting that would help immensely. From geographic methods to creating more bipartisan commissions to draw the district lines, there are ways forward that will not just allow, but force our federal officials to work together and move our country in a positive direction.

If we continue with the current approach, each side refusing to compromise and deriding bipartisanship, gridlock will continue. America will suffer! The best chance to realize our country’s true potential, now is the time to demand bipartisanship from our leaders.

*Note of interest: The Tea Party, is not a registered political party. It is considered a movement.


Daniel Mica

Daniel Mica

Dan Mica, former head of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), established The DMA Group as a means to combine a myriad of experience into a one-stop consultancy. Elected in ... Web: www.dmagroupdc.com Details