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How is Bipartisanship Revived? [SERIES]

Is bipartisanship dead? Political experts disagree about whether it’s dead or on life support, but they agree bipartisanship is in serious trouble. In part two of our series on bipartisanship, we explore how to revive it.

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Montclair University political expert Brigid Harrison says politicians on both sides should embarrass those in their ranks who take extreme positions in the face of common sense.

“The best thing that political leaders can do, whether they are republican or democrat, is call them out on that.”

Patrick Murray of the Monmouth University Polling Institute said President Obama talks bipartisanship, but lacks the leadership to bring it off. He says Governor Christie has found a kind of bipartisanship

“He worked some Democrats on some issues who were able to get the leadership within their own party, and then he (Christie), was able to get his own republicans to vote in lock step,” Murray said.

Fairleigh Dickinson University political scientist Peter Woolley says everone talks bipartisanship, but there’s a disconnect when members of Congress try to draw sharp distinctions between parties.

Woolley believes Governor Christie’s success is that he identifies very specific policy issues, which he realizes cuts beyond the party lines. And then he seizes on those and he is willing to deal on those issues.

Woolley says whether it is charter schools, which cuts into the Democratic constituency very deeply, or it’s the proprietary rights of Atlantic City, which also cuts into South Jersey Democrats very deeply, he identifies it, he goes after it, and he’s willing to deal on it.

Patrick Murray says we have seen glimmers of bipartisanship lately…even in Washington. But he says it’s not clear that it’s going to happen until people decide that it’s more important to achieve something than to stand by your principles on every single subject.

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