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