Feb 12, 2019

Building Policy Coalitions Approach Gains National Attention

Post by Freedom Partners

To get things done in Washington, partisanship is not the answer. Freedom Partners understands this and adopted it as a principle.

“For several years, like many others, we accepted that to be effective in politics, partisan engagement was the only real way to achieve policy reform. But not anymore,” Freedom Partners Executive Vice President James Davis wrote in a recent op-ed for CNN. “The reality is partisanship too often gets in the way of achieving what’s possible.”

More recently, The New York Times noted this change. The Times, citing criminal justice legislation enacted late last year, reported that Koch network leaders “say they intend to focus more on building similar coalitions to take on stubborn issues. ‘This is the next major evolution of the Koch network,’” Davis said.

That legislation was, of course, The First Step Act. It was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support —the Senate passed the measure by a vote of 87-12 and the House passed the bill 358-36.

The Deseret News editorial board also cited our practical approach as a prime example of coalition governing. They noted that, working together across partisan divides, the bill’s champions overcame those who tried to play politics with the legislation.

“The victory for criminal justice reform was also a victory over the kind of contempt-filled swamp thinking that has paralyzed Washington for too long. Rather than seeing this coalition as an aberration in a fractured nation, many hope this becomes the norm. Finding allies and building such coalition alliances will be the test for lawmakers and leaders across the political spectrum and around the world in the years ahead.”

They concluded this way:

“Despite a climate of divisive political rhetoric and the incessant demonization of political opponents, there is a bright spot on the horizon. Building coalitions based on areas of agreement rather than focusing on areas of contention could transform the way Washington works. It would get Congress back to doing the policy work of the people instead of the political work of the parties.”

Freedom Partners certainly aims to do its part to help coalition governance become the norm. Those who share a vision and want to work toward a common good are stronger united — no matter political affiliation.