How to Solve US Political Gridlock: Dual Survival

By Shlomo Maital

Senators Flake and Heinrich

   An Amazon Reality show, Dual Survival, shown as well on Discovery Channel, features two sitting U.S. Senators, Jeff Flake (Republican, Arizona) and Martin Heinrich (Democrat, New Mexico), dumped on a deserted island in the Marshall Islands, and required to survive for 7 days.   They have to find water, make shelter, find food, and in general work closely together.  

     They do succeed, and together build a raft that takes them beyond the surf and the coral reef to their extraction ship.

       While on the island, they commiserate about Americans’ low opinion of the Senate, about who is to blame (“Americans blame both parties”, they say), and note that Republicans and Democrats simply do not meet and talk together, but rather, within each party, talk only to each other.

     They vow to have lunch together once a week.

       So here we have a solution to the toxic political atmosphere in the US, which allows a leading Republican senator (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell) to say, we will do everything to make Obama a one-term president, rather than we will do everything to improve the wellbeing of ordinary Americans. (He failed – but apparently, aggressive partisanship beats legislative productivity).

       Send the 52 Republican senators off to desert islands, with the 48 Democrat senators, in pairs. Give them knives and an (empty) water bottle. Work together, or starve and dehydrate. Come back and tell us if you can work together.

   Hey, it worked for Flack and Heinrich.   And as for the catastrophic McConnell Health Bill — Republicans barely talked about it with Republicans, let alone with Democrats.  One of the strongest arguments Republicans put forward, for the Bill:  If we don’t pass it, we will (horrors!!) have to talk to the Democrats on a compromise.  Talk to Democrats????!!!!!   Only on a desert island….