- Election Information
- Collaborative Policymaking
- Building Trust across the Aisle
Building Trust across the Aisle
Building Trust Across the Aisle
Bipartisan cooperation is unlikely without strong, civil relationships between legislators and legislative leaders of opposing parties. The report's case studies illustrate the importance of building relationships between legislators of opposing parties that are characterized by civility and trust, as a prerequisite to engaging in bipartisan collaboration. This is especially true of legislative leaders.
State chambers should take proactive steps to foster civility and trust. Collaborative policymaking requires that legislators with different ideals and perspectives be willing to engage one another in the deliberations and bargaining necessary for them to find common ground. In the absence of trust and civility, legislators are unlikely to see these negotiations through, or initiate them in the first place. Strategies for improving legislative relationships include:
Bipartisan social events: Legislators often identify social interaction between Republicans and Democrats as an effective way to build the sort of relationships on which collaboration can be built, outside of the pressure and antagonism that often typify their professional relations.
Educational initiatives: A number of organizations have developed educational initiatives that aim to foster civility and trust in the face of ideological differences. For example, the Next Generation initiative, a project of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, works with with state legislators in workshops that are designed to strengthen bipartisan relationships and equip legislators with the tools they need to improve the quality of discourse in their chamber.