At, Sarah Anderson, Daniel Butler, and Laurel Harbridge-Yong write that transparency may have contributed to legislative gridlock.

One promising solution, even in this polarized context, is allowing legislators more room to negotiate compromise solutions outside of the public eye. In research for our forthcoming book, Rejecting Compromise: Legislators’ Fear of Primary Voters (2020), we found that allowing for more private negotiations among legislators can increase the ability to reach compromises between the parties. Privacy can be effective because one of the obstacles to compromise is that legislators believe that primary voters will punish legislators who support compromise. This fear can prevent legislators from engaging in serious negotiations because they do not want to appear as though they are willing to capitulate on issues that primary voters care about. Yet if they are not willing to seriously engage in these discussions, they are unlikely to reach a compromise deal, leaving many issues stuck in gridlock.