Republican Mia Love, left, and Democrat Doug Owens, shake hands following their debate in Salt Lake City, Utah. Love and Owens show Republicans and Democrats of various views and experiences can discuss sensitive topics in an effort to work together. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Political polarization is becoming a defining feature of today’s America, according to reports by Pew Research Center. This trend often causes issues because legislation requires bipartisan support to pass.

Bipartisan and partisan support have evolved around political parties. However, nowhere in the constitution does it mention political parties or affiliation with them.

“The Constitution was designed before there were parties and parties developed in Congress before they developed in elections in order to build agreement in moving laws forward,” BYU political science professor Adam Brown said.

A 2003 study conducted by the United Nations Development Programme echoed what Brown said by emphasizing that party polarization can be harmful to democracy.

“An inclusive constitution-making process is beneficial to the legitimacy and longevity of the constitution. When one group dominates the process, it fails to reach a genuine consensus among all significant political actors,” the study stated.

Recent voting results have suggested that decision-makers tend to vote along party lines, risking the possibility of votes based upon group opinion rather than individual beliefs.

BYU Political Affairs Society President Jake Jensen emphasized the importance of working together in government in order to help things move forward.

“Recognize that ultimately, everyone has the same goal to make the United States a better place, just a different way of going about it,” Jensen said.

A study done in August 2018 by Utah Policy shows that Republicans outnumber Democrats in Utah 5-1. Brown noted that because party politics can be so competitive, bipartisanship can be difficult to achieve.

“Both parties have a strong incentive to highlight the differences in parties,” Brown said.

Not only is bipartisanship support important at a local level, but it is also a hot topic among national political discussions.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently spoke on the importance of bipartisanship at the University of Chicago, where she accepted the 2019 Harris Dean’s Award.

Ginsburg emphasized the importance of bipartisanship support in moving laws and court decisions forward.

“Collegiality is very important in the workplace; we couldn’t do the job the Constitution assigns to us unless we worked well together,” Ginsburg said at the award ceremony.

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