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.
A minimum wage increase will positively affect a sizable portion of the population, will have a moderate stimulative effect on the economy, and will be easily affordable. And by indexing it to inflation as the Harkin-Miller bill suggests, it would ensure that low income American workers would not risk seeing their wages eroded during the next recession.
The midterm elections loom but everyone knows what the outcome will be: gridlock, gridlock and more gridlock. That's because the U.S. system is based on a 227-year-old prototype (circa 1787) that badly needs a refresh to match the efficiency and transparency that characterizes other, superior government systems.
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.
Does a sharply divided America necessarily mean that no meaningful legislation can emerge from our political leaders on both sides of the aisle? I don't think so! What many people describe as the greatest political agreement in the history of the world came out of a deeply divided America -- the US Constitution.
Crowdfunding, depicted graphically, resemble nothing so much as the trajectory of space vehicles obtaining escape velocity from the earth's atmosphere. But for those with boots on the ground, the impact of these trends more likely resembles displacement associated with the cracking of tectonic plates.
Congress is now doing what it normally does, in an election year. This is not intended to sound cynical, as I actually think it is a good thing for a divided Congress to stand up for its divided beliefs -- even while knowing that almost none of the bills it now votes on have a prayer of becoming law before the election.