Arun Sudhaman 08 Nov 2023 // 6:44PM GMT
WASHINGTON, DC — In the turbulent waters of Washington's political landscape, finding common ground between Democrats and Republicans has become an elusive goal. Yet, industry experts and observers at today's PRovokeGlobal Summit believe that amid the partisan divide, some areas still offer a glimmer of hope for bipartisan cooperation.
Megan Wilson, a senior healthcare reporter at Politico, highlighted the healthcare space as one of the few policy areas where Democrats and Republicans can find common ground. She noted that despite the challenges, there are pockets of agreement that allow both sides to work together in crafting policy solutions.
However, Rodell Mollineau, CEO of Rokk Solutions, offered a sobering perspective on larger policy issues. He pointed out that on critical matters like gun reform, immigration, and fiscal responsibility, the momentum for bipartisanship has dwindled. Mollineau observed a growing number of elected officials in Washington who are staunchly partisan and resistant to compromise, which has contributed to the political gridlock.
Paul Holmes, founder and chair of PRovoke Media, succinctly described the current atmosphere as "chaos is an end in itself," reflecting the disarray in Washington's political landscape.
Mollineau expanded on this by noting that some politicians are being rewarded by their constituents for their staunchly partisan positions. Yet while some voters seek upheaval, there is also a demand for practical solutions to everyday problems.
This disconnect between the political rhetoric in Washington and the experiences of everyday Americans poses challenges for businesses and corporations, particularly when it comes to hot-button issues like DEI and ESG.
Wilson pointed to the increasing involvement of employees and shareholders in political donations, influencing corporate engagement in politics. She also pointed out that the Biden Administration has prioritized health equity, which has substantial implications for healthcare providers and corporations.
Mollineau, meanwhile, highlighted that some politicians have attempted to rein in corporate engagement in political and social issues through legislation. Over 30 pieces of legislation were filed at the start of this Congress to limit the influence of ESG initiatives, but none have advanced significantly. Mollineau explained that some view ESG as a threat to long-standing constituencies, while others aim to discourage corporations from challenging politicians on contentious issues.
In the face of these challenges, Mollineau's advice to corporations is clear: "Live your values."
"It was a lot easier when corporations did what they did, made money and shut the hell up," said Mollineau. "Once corporate entities started having opinions on [issues] it got a little bit more uncomfortable, that relationship between politicians and corporations. My advice to everyone is ‘live your values’. If these were your values before the culture wars, then you have nothing to worry about."