What’s the point of engaging with your political opponents? Well, for one thing, you never quite know what will come out of it. If you dive into uncharted territory, you just might stumble onto a trade you can work with.
That’s partly what happened on a recent episode of With Friends Like These, a great (liberal-leaning) podcast about messy coalitions. The progressive host, Ana Marie Cox, was talking with Tea Party veteran Rick Wilson, and came to a surprising agreement on voter ID laws and voting rights.
After a conversation that was equal parts tough and patient, the two of them realized that they could both entertain a workable solution on voter ID laws: states could institute any of their voter ID requirements so long as those policies were subjected to judicial pre-clearance, just like they used to be under the Voting Rights act.
By appealing to everyone, this kind of two-part solution might be able to tackle conservative concerns about voter fraud and liberal concerns about voter suppression in a single, well-placed swing.
Ana and Rick sort of glossed over this point of agreement and moved onto other topics, but I actually thought it was pretty significant.
I don’t know if something like that could catch on, and there would definitely still be challenges in implementation, to be sure, but still — that’s exactly the kind of working solution I try to look out for.
Even if it doesn’t pan out, at least it advances the conversation and shows a willingness to work together on common problems. Every little bit of good faith helps.
Baby steps, right?