Some leading Democrats seem to have a love-hate relationship with the left. Sure, progressives seem to have more influence than ever this year, at least rhetorically. But it doesn't look like the friction will be going away any time soon. Clearly, the left matters. Why, then, is it so difficult for progressives to get a seat at the table?
As the Senate wrestles with the Republicans' Keystone XL pipeline legislation, Rubio will be skipping town to bolster his presidential bid. This legislation has implications for fossil-fuel dependence and climate change. And one of its amendments may address offshore drilling in the senator's own state of Florida. But Rubio has a book to sell and a campaign to fund.
The danger in conceding that political gridlock is here to stay is that the concession is a form of acceptance, and we simply cannot accept inaction against a threat as serious and irreversible as global warming. Some contemporary issues may indeed defy bipartisan solutions, but evidence suggests that climate action and a clean energy revolution need not be among them.
If Republicans win control of the Senate, there will be the gridlock -- only much worse. It will be so bad that the American people will look back on this current Congress as "productive". Suppose, however, that independents actually control the balance of power. If they act together, they can break the gridlock.