Is bipartisanship achievable? Depends who you ask

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-  As we look ahead to the prospect of a divided congress, is partisan gridlock inevitable? And what do our local elected leaders have to say about it?

It’s the go-to message after any election: let’s come together.

“We’ve got to start looking at what people have done, what they’re gonna [sic] bring to the table, and get rid of the negativity and the money that comes with it,” said Senator-elect Mike Braun (R) in his victory speech Tuesday night.

“We love this country so much,” said Senator Joe Donnelly (D) during his concession speech. “We need to make sure we work to bring our country together instead of divide it.”

But is a call for unity achievable, as the country heads into a legislative session with a divided congress?

“I think leaders in both the Democratic and Republican parties have a responsibility to eliminate the rhetoric,” said Congressman Andre Carson (D), who won re-election Tuesday.

He sits on the powerful house intelligence committee, which will soon be led by Democrats, and has faith that a measure of bi-partisanship can happen.

“I’ve had over five pieces of legislation signed into law that was done primarily because of Republican support,” said Carson.

But some experts said with a congress now more ideologically divided, cross-aisle cooperation might be tough.

“We’ve actually replaced moderate Democrats with more conservative Republicans, and we’ve replaced moderate Republicans with more liberal Democrats,” said Greg Shufeldt, an assistant professor of political science at Butler University.

He says despite calls for unity, with congress divided it might be back to business as usual.

“I think we’re going to be looking at the house shining a little bit more of their oversight responsibilities, looking into various investigations, looking at tax returns of the President and things like that,” said Shufeldt. “But in terms of issues that average joe voters might care about, I doubt that we’re going to see much action on those.”

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