Most of us believe that government is failing to govern well. At the federal level, we blame “partisan gridlock” and with good reason. A Democratic President strives to build consensus with a Republican House and a narrowly Democratic Senate. They constantly bog down in conflict and struggle to govern together.
What is our excuse in Texas? Every single statewide office is held by Republicans. The State House of Representatives has a super-majority of Republicans and the Senate has a solid majority. Granted, the Senate mostly adheres to a two-thirds rule and likes to build agreement among even their Democratic members. However, they will suspend the rules when necessary to avoid gridlock and they have the votes to do so.
So, what is the problem? Why can’t they solve the state’s problems? It is becoming obvious that even absolute control cannot guarantee widespread agreement on complex policy issues. To get the Texas House and Senate to agree on issues this Legislative Session has been extremely challenging.
Every time it appears that they have agreed upon something, the delicate compromise will fall apart as the two chambers try to approve it.
Granted, House Democrats (though few in numbers) have been especially adept at using Rules of Order to create chaos in the process but even they know they are only postponing the inevitable.
Generally, it is puzzling to this observer how agreement cannot be reached when one party controls everything.
Is our federal government better off with partisan divide? Does it force deeper debate and compromise? I had never thought so until witnessing this Texas Legislative session.
The great experiment of democracy continues. Which system do you think creates the best public policy?