“. . . In recent years, for instance, there has been strong bipartisan support for modest gun control measures such as expanded background checks and red-flag laws, but Mr. McConnell’s Senate never got around to making those happen. Neither have lawmakers provided legislative relief to Dreamers, immigrants brought illegally to the United States as children, despite bipartisan public support for providing legal status and a path to citizenship.
Last August, the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy issued a report, based on a survey of more than 80,000 Americans, enumerating nearly 150 issues on which majorities of Democrats and Republicans agree. These range from raising the eligibility age for Social Security to creating a national registry for police misconduct, and from strengthening campaign finance laws to imposing congressional term limits.
As for Mr. Biden’s relief plan, currently awaiting congressional action: 76 percent of Americans, including 60 percent of Republicans, support it, according to a Morning Consult poll out Wednesday.
Going forward, Mr. Biden should think, and talk, about bipartisanship as it relates to the American public — not whether a few tribal warriors in Congress can be coaxed into crossing party lines. His team has explicitly nodded in this direction now and again. “Even with narrow majorities in Congress, he has the opportunity to build broad bipartisan support for his program — not necessarily in Congress but with the American people,” his adviser Anita Dunn told CNN in January, regarding Covid relief.
This should be the standard party line. If, say, 70 percent of the electorate supports a policy, including a majority of Republicans, it is bipartisan — regardless of what McConnell & Company think of it. By hammering home this more expansive definition, Mr. Biden can start nudging people — maybe even lawmakers — to think more in terms of a policy’s widespread appeal than about what the loudest voices on either side are demanding.
This would be a step toward making government work better for everyone. Except maybe Mr. McConnell.” -30-