Par­ties over

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Ge­orge T. Con­way III and Neal Katyal as­serted in their Oct. 31 Wed­nes­day Opin­ion es­say, “The Constitution is bi­par­ti­san,” that the Constitution is “bi­par­ti­san.” That is un­sup­port­able.

Po­lit­i­cal par­ties are men­tioned nowhere in the Constitution. The Constitution is not “bi­par­ti­san”; it is non­par­ti­san. It does not en­vi­sion our di­vi­sive par­ties, whose non-con­sti­tu­tional con­trol of Congress has pro­duced a pub­lic ap­proval rat­ing of­ten in the sin­gle dig­its — a record of pro­found fail­ure, lower than that of any other ex­tant gov­ern­men­tal in­sti­tu­tion of con­se­quence. (Fed­eral de­part­ments and agen­cies taken to­gether have a 70 per­cent ap­proval rat­ing, ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­can Cus­tomer Sat­is­fac­tion In­dex.)

We can­not keep run­ning Congress the same way and ex­pect bet­ter re­sults.

Ne­braska’s non­par­ti­san Se­nate has proved for more than 80 years that a leg­is­la­ture can func­tion with­out party lead­ers, par­ti­san cau­cuses or party struc­ture. (For­get Ne­braska’s uni­cam­eral as­pect — it’s ir­rel­e­vant to Congress.)

Non­par­ti­san­ship is what is sug­gested by the Constitution. The First Amend­ment guar­an­tees the right of po­lit­i­cal par­ties to ex­ist. But no part of the Constitution en­vi­sions par­ties con­trol­ling Congress. Given their abysmal record of stew­ard­ship of Congress, we should be look­ing at other, bet­ter, proven mod­els. No other en­joys the suc­cess, pop­u­lar­ity, longevity and dura­bil­ity of the non­par­ti­san model of Ne­braska.

Dan Bolling, Bethesda

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