How Dems and Republicans can end the costly government stalemate (without a victory or a defeat) and start governing a divided nation

January 23, 2019

In the ongoing government negotiations in Washington, President Donald Trump did yield some ground on the “Dreamers” last weekend, but he continues to demand $5.7 billion for his southern border wall to open the government. To House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the “offer” was a nonstarter and she refuses to talk about the wall unless Trump opens the government.

So the stalemate continues.

When neither side in a dispute is willing to take a leap and compromise, and constituencies unite behind their leaders’ recalcitrance, what you get is what we have now: a protracted stalemate made worse by acrimonious tit-for-tat pettiness. Moreover, a significant step by either side seems increasingly risky politically, and thus highly unlikely.

We know that in dealing with seemingly intractable political conflicts, negotiations that take a zero-sum, win/lose approach rarely succeed. So, what to do?

Drawing from research and practice on negotiation, it makes sense to try changing both the approach and the negotiators.

by Linda Stamato and Sanford Jaffe, Guest Columnists, NJ.com, January 22, 2019

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