You might not know it from popular media, and you certainly won’t see it on social media, but the majority of Americans desire more compromise and less political entrenchment.
While our government is mired in partisan dysfunctionality, the American populace is far less divided than many would have us believe.
A September 2018 Gallup poll revealed that 50% of respondents favored more bi-partisan compromise, while only 22% indicated that politicians should rigidly retain their positions at the expense of cooperation or collaboration.
With Congressional Approval currently at 19%, it is clear to most Americans that our political system is in dire need of change and improvement. The public majority wants leaders who will reach across the aisle, and 57% of Americans are disenchanted with both the Republican and Democratic parties and have expressed the desire for a third major party.
The loudest voices in the public square, and the most vehement and vocal “friends” in our social media feeds, are often those who are the most radical and opinionated. Media outlets vie for audience, and therefore report the most dramatic and sensationalist viewpoints. Therefore, those with moderate and centrist perspectives may tend to believe that they are in the minority, and that they should keep their opinions to themselves or risk public shaming for failing to take a strident stand one way or the other.
However, the polls clearly indicate that moderates are not in the minority, and it is imperative to make it clear that a preference for balance and compromise is not a lack of conviction, but rather a strong conviction in itself. One can be fiercely principled, but simultaneously aware of the need for negotiation if our system of checks and balances is going to endure.
The marketplace of ideas needs to be populated not only by those who are screaming from the left or the right, but by those who will stand up in the middle and rally together that majority of our country which is interested in a more civil and collaborative way forward.
Learn more about American perspectives on transpartisanship in Gallup’s recent article “Bringing About More Compromise in Congress.”
And find a variety of organizations and initiatives that are working to bring America back together at Common Party.