A Rare Bipartisan, Trans-Ideological Effort

The sad fact that bipartisanship is so often an illusion or a scam these days should not make us incapable of seeing the occasional supernova. Check out this report from the New York Times‘ Carl Hulse:

Usually bitter adversaries, Koch Industries and the Center for American Progress have found at least one thing they can agree on: The nation’s criminal justice system is broken.

Koch Industries, the conglomerate owned by the conservative Koch brothers, and the center, a Washington-based liberal issues group, are coming together to back a new organization called the Coalition for Public Safety. The coalition plans a multimillion-dollar campaign on behalf of emerging proposals to reduce prison populations, overhaul sentencing, reduce recidivism and take on similar initiatives. Other groups from both the left and right — the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Tax Reform, the Tea Party-oriented FreedomWorks — are also part of the coalition, reflecting its unusually bipartisan approach.

The coalition will have initial backing of more than $5 million, with groups also spending independently on their own criminal justice initiatives.

Organizers of the advocacy campaign, which is to be announced on Thursday, consider it to be the largest national effort focused on the strained prison and justice system.

This alliance has been a long time aborning (you may recall the piece on conservative interest in sentencing reform that David Dagan and Steven Teles did for WaMo back in 2012). And oddly enough, it probably requires the leadership of groups with the partisan profiles of KochWorld and CAP to make this particular bipartisan initiative safe for pols. It’s sure superior to the bipartisan commitment to the War on Drugs and Mandatory Sentencing that did so much to create this tragedy in the first place.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.