Two of Michigan’s Members of Congress Talk Partisanship and Bipartisanship in Washington

Joan Isabella/WDET

Rep. Debbie Dingell (left) and Rep. Dave Trott (right)

It seems we’re hearing more and more frequently about how divided we are as a nation — socially, geographically, racially, and politically.

We’ve seen numerous center-leaning politicians leave a life of politics and cite the divisiveness and vitriol of Washington as part of the reason they were ready to be done.

Is a spirit of bipartisanship possible in modern politics? Are lawmakers capable of working across the aisle and still being respected by their constituents? And is it possible that this particularly fraught time in American politics could break through to a renewed sense of collaboration between lawmakers in opposite parties?

Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson speaks with two members of Michigan’s congressional delegation — one Democrat and one Republican — about whether members of Congress can put aside partisan politics for the good of the country. Henderson is joined by U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) and U.S. Rep. Dave Trott (R-Birmingham).

It’s a big challenge,” says Trott. “At the moment, many of the Democrats believe that the Republicans for the last six years stood in the way of anything and everything that President Obama wanted to do, so now it’s payback time… And similarly President Trump, I think, is still learning how Washington works and so far has not generated the political capital that he needs to lead. So, those two things are exacerbating the problem.”

We can’t give up,” says Dingell. “Simply saying that we can’t get along is not an acceptable answer… I think we’re Americans and Michiganians and Michiganders first.”

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.

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