I want to congratulate President-elect Biden on his victory. Everyone, regardless of political affiliation, should want him to succeed because we need our country to succeed.

Precisely because I want him and America to succeed, I’d like to offer Mr. Biden some unsolicited advice. If he is going to heal and unify the nation, he must start by recognizing that this goal is in conflict with the Democratic Party’s lurch leftward. Pushing a far-left agenda would bitterly divide the country. It may be what the loudest voices in Mr. Biden’s party are demanding, but he wasn’t elected to divide and disrupt. He won the election because America is fed up with bitter partisanship, divisiveness and dysfunction.

Look at the results down the ballot. Despite suffering the first loss for an incumbent president since 1992, Republicans added a governorship in Montana, appear to have held the Senate majority, and even gained seats in the House. Americans wouldn’t vote for divided government if they wanted radical change.

During the campaign, Mr. Biden deflected questions about his party’s embrace of massive tax hikes, the Green New Deal and other economic policies that would crush the economic recovery, instead focusing on the president’s record and character. In the first debate, when confronted with these extreme policies widely embraced by his fellow Democrats, Mr. Biden stated: “I am the Democratic Party.” Now is the time for him to prove it.

Placating the far-left base of the party may have been an effective campaign strategy, but it is not a viable approach to governing. Joe Biden now must choose whether he wants to be a unifier or a progressive activist.

Some on the far left want him to use his presidency for revenge and control rather than to bring Americans together. They have proposed abolishing the Senate’s legislative filibuster to eliminate the need for consensus and deliberation and to pack the Supreme Court. Notably, in the final days of the campaign, Mr. Biden refused to rule out these tactics, which would undermine Americans’ confidence in their institutions and disrupt constitutional order. Voters had to elect a GOP Senate majority to take such extreme proposals off the table.

Many in the Democratic Party may feel that they were treated unfairly when Republicans controlled the White House. I’ve spoken out when I felt my members of my party were doing more to inflame toxic politics than to solve real problems. And I certainly know from experience that it’s not easy to say no to your base or to stand up to the loudest and angriest voices.

Americans turned out in record numbers to vote against the opposing candidate, not for their own. If there ever was a time for us to focus on tuning out the extremes and coming together as one country, it’s now.

We have a choice. We can either continue to perpetuate toxic politics, or we can work together to build a better future. We can either try to score points on social media, or we can come together to solve problems and make life better for all Americans. We can either move forward together, or we can continue to slide backward, divided. Now is the time to govern.

The overwhelming majority of Americans are completely fed up with politics as usual and want us to move forward together. What they desperately want is for elected officials to work on bipartisan, common-sense solutions to the serious problems we face.

Americans consistently rank the divisiveness and dysfunction in Washington as the most important problem facing our country. They don’t want to grant more power to either party in Washington. They want Washington to get its act together. This exhausted majority of Americans are not the voices we hear on social media, cable news or talk radio. But they have placed their trust in Mr. Biden. My sincere hope is that he won’t let them down.

Even in my very blue state of Maryland—which Mr. Biden won by nearly 30 points—the far-left agenda is widely unpopular. My 2018 opponent ran on the Green New Deal, massive tax hikes and other far-left priorities. Marylanders soundly rejected these policies because they much preferred bipartisanship and common-sense solutions.

This dilemma isn’t new for President-elect Biden. In 2008, millions of Americans were inspired by Barack Obama’s vision of America as “not a collection of red states or blue states” but the United States. His election brought hope that a new era of bipartisanship and unity was possible. President Obama chose to give priority to progressive policy changes rather than the original promise of his candidacy. Eight years later, even he recognized “that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better,” acknowledging in his last State of the Union address that this was one of the “regrets of my presidency.”

Now, after another divisive four years and an even more tumultuous campaign, I respectfully urge Joe Biden to not lead us down the same course. The consequences of four more years of divisiveness and dysfunction in Washington would be devastating. I stand ready and willing to work together with the president-elect for the greater good of our nation and all our citizens. If he chooses unity over division and common-sense solutions over partisan dogma, then he will find a partner here in Maryland. More important, it would earn him the gratitude and support of the American people.

This opinion first appeared in the Nov. 7 edition of the Wall Street Journal.

Follow me on Twitter @connie_stardem.

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