An Open Letter of Introduction

We plan to launch a journal, The Transpartisan Review, after the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.  Between now and the election, we and others will write weekly ‘Notes’ and comments to introduce ideas in The Transpartisan Forum (launching July 18th) to inspire and shape the Journal.

On July 4, 2008, the de Vinci Press published our book Voice of the People: The Transpartisan Imperative in American Life, which was meant to be a sequel and expansion of Lawry Chickering’s earlier Beyond Left and Right (1993).  Voice reflected and contributed to a decade-long conversation about integrating diverse political impulses into concerted political action.

The book reported various ‘strange-bedfellow’, left-right initiatives from these and other groups.  All over America national, regional, and local groups working across partisan divides were transforming conflict into solutions to challenging problems.

From 2003 to 2008 we participated in Reuniting America, a group of leaders from about thirty organizations, with 30 million members.  RA self-identified as half ‘left’ and half ‘right,’ including MoveOn.org, The Christian Coalition, Common Cause, Americans for Tax Reform.

In 2016 researcher David Dagan called the work ‘transpartisan’—people ‘reasoning from their ideological first principles.’  Unlike bipartisan, he said, transpartisan does not look ‘for compromise . . . this is a different kind of story, about true believers on each side reaching similar conclusions.’

Transpartisan activity is often lost in news that focuses only on conflict.  We see ‘transpartisan’ as an additional lens through which to view, analyze and shape political events.  The Transpartisan Review will provide focus for this lens, shining lights on new approaches that bring people together while solving problems.

Writer A. Lawrence Chickering, a conservative Republican activist, began his professional career at National Review and counted William F. Buckley and Milton Friedman among his closest friends.  Attorney James S. Turner, an original Nader’s Raider and progressive Democrat, aligns with the positions of his political allies and friends Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and the late Howard Metzenbaum.

Chickering and Turner are both avid basketball fans.  Chickering is a native San Franciscan who hangs on Warriors’ Steph Curry’s every shot.  Turner hails from Cleveland and revels in LeBron James’ return to the Cavaliers.  Both rooted fanatically for the other’s team in the run up to what they believed was one of the greatest finals in NBA history.  Life and the NBA did not disappoint them.  Strong partisans make good transpartisans.

We are attaching a first blog.  This week we will be sending a special Note, because of the importance of the issue, on Brexit.  We hope you will enjoy these Notes and want to recommend others who are looking for new ideas in this political season, ravaged by conflict.  We also hope you will consider writing material for the Notes and the Journal.  

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

— A. Lawrence Chickering and James S. Turner

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