The sheer static of an election year, it's often presumed, pretty much blocks out bipartisan logic and action. And in Washington the ''out'' party usually tries to counter with obstructionism the ''in'' party's advantage in White House initiative and control.
But frankly, there also are pressures in an election year for Congress and the White House to cooperate. We wouldn't be surprised to see Washington reach some compromise on several of its most commanding challenges. This includes the deficit, Central America, and the Marines in Lebanon.
This fall, in the House, more Democratic than Republican incumbents will face the voters. Usually, about 9 of 10 congressmen run for reelection, and about 8 of 10 are returned. In the Senate, none of the Democrats up for reelection is thought to be in any serious trouble. There, the pressure is on the Republican incumbents, several of whom are in trouble. Most early assessments of November's likely results project little change in the House, possibly a few seats picked up by the Democrats. In the Senate, the Democrats will likely shrink the GOP's majority without overturning it.
None of this holds out major hope for any kind of congressional revolution favoring the Democrats that would make stubborn, partisan obstructionism worth the risk to their own incumbent herd. In some regards, President Reagan faces more trouble striking bargains with some of his own Republican conservative allies.
Campaigns can sure rile things up, as candidates are recorded making partisan pitches to their own crowds. Much of the campaign trail talk is good fun, and some can be pretty cutting when read back in Washington the next morning. Mr. Reagan's gibe at the eight Democratic contenders in debate - ''There were so many candidates on the platform, they ran out of promises'' - had to be appreciated. Among the Democrats, some of the worst cutting up has been coming at their own hands - particularly Sen. Gary Hart's lumping of his seven rivals with the GOP President as ''establishment politicians'' practicing the ''politics of the past.''
President Reagan has the option to compel a good measure of cooperation from Congress. As House majority whip Thomas Foley (D) of Washington observes, if the Democrats are transparent in their partisanship, it will sink them.
''The best politics is to be patriotic, to give it a go,'' says Congress scholar Thomas Mann. ''After all, sometimes you win a presidential election and have to govern - and what shape will things be in? We sometimes forget, a lot of members of Congress are serious people. They're concerned about problems, genuinely.''
The political issues inherent in the Central America policy debate, noted in the columns opposite, would be the same if this were the beginning of 1985, not 1984. On Lebanon, the President has had his top men, Secretary of State George Shultz and special envoy Donald Rumsfeld, working Capitol Hill for days.
On the deficit, the Democrats want the President to take the lead. They want him to commit himself publicly to what Treasury Secretary Donald Regan has intimated - that the White House would not rule defense spending and a tax increase off limits. The trouble with the deficit issue for the Democrats is that, to most of the public, the penalty for inaction, like a distant waterfall, seems far enough off that little urgency is felt about it now.
The Democrats are afraid of losing whatever leverage the deficit issue gives them. But they would have to go along with the President if he made a clear move toward a deficit deal this spring.