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The Future of Bipartisanship in Congress Might Be Road Trips

2 minute read

The road to more bipartisanship in Congress might be paved with good intentions.

Two Texas lawmakers drew praise from both sides of the aisle after they successfully completed a 1,600-mile drive to Washington, D.C., in a Chevy Impala together.

Democratic Representative Beto O’Rourke and Republican Representative Will Hurd took social media by storm when they live streamed the impromptu road trip from San Antonio to the Capitol for a vote after their flight was canceled earlier this week.

Their two-day “Congressional Cannonball Run” was filled with the expected fast food stops and singing along to music, along with marathon discussions about policy prompted by questions on Facebook Live and from people who called in.

One of the questions O’Rourke and Hurd asked callers was which Congress members from across the aisle they would want to go on a road trip with. Plenty answered—inspiring others to suggest taking the road trips themselves.

Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee of Michigan called in with poor cell service, and followed up with a comment on the live stream: “If I had to do my own all-day bipartisan road trip, would definitely be with Rep. John Moolenaar,” a Michigan Republican, he said.

When people on social media started posting their own suggestions, a few members of Congress said they were willing to go along with the idea.

In the meantime, Republican Sen. Richard Burr has even offered to join the pair for a drive back.

Since lawmakers may no longer go to the State of the Union with a seat “date” from the other party, spending two days in a car together could be one of the only times to reach across the aisle. It seems to have worked well this week: at the end of the ride, Hurd and O’Rourke said they had more affection and understanding for each other than before they began.

The pair also received serious exposure from the trip—which could encourage others to do the same. We’ll know if the #bipartisanroadtrip hashtag reappears on Twitter.

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Write to Julia Zorthian at julia.zorthian@time.com