A Republican and a Democrat embark on a cross-country road trip with breakfast tacos. No, that's not a joke, or the plot of an epic bromance movie. That's what the internet has affectionately dubbed the great "Bipartisan Road Trip" of 2017 that took place on Tuesday when two Texas Congressmen realized their flight to D.C. for a House vote was canceled — and they decided to rent a car to make the 1,600-mile drive themselves. The responses to this bipartisan road trip showed support across the board as the unlikely duo live-streamed the trip on Facebook and Periscope, taking audience questions and discussing everything from child trafficking to weight loss regimens.
The resulting "bi-coastal town hall" offered a rare glimpse into a sight that, sadly, isn't all too common in today's politically contentious environment: two politicians from opposite sides of the aisle actually working together, engaging in dialogue with one another, and learning from each other to find common ground. While the friendship that Rep. Will Hurd and Rep. Beto O'Rourke established is inspiring, what gives us even more hope for the future of American politics is the overwhelmingly positive response from politicians to the bipartisan road trip.
Aside from answering the questions of constituents, the pair also received calls from a range of politicians. Former Speaker of the House Republican Newt Gingrich called the duo when they began their journey to offer his support.
"You two are going to be permanently changed by this," Gingrich reportedly told them. "You'll know each other better than, sadly, few members do."
Senator Angus King, an Independent who represents Maine, called the pair to discuss how Congress could work together to pass the Real Time Transparency Act, a bill that would revise campaign contribution requirements.
Some politicians even encouraged legislators to follow the example of Hurd and O'Rourke by challenging them to nominate other ideologically-opposed lawmakers to take a bipartisan road trip together.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy even reportedly offered to hold the House vote open for as long as possible so that Hurd and O'Rourke could participate in the hearing if they were running a couple of minutes late. Although the two eventually did make it to D.C. on time, even Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was concerned about them.
While the great Bipartisan Road Trip of 2017 may be over, Hurd and O'Rourke have seemingly created a friendship that will lead to greater understanding as they work together on Capitol Hill. The responses that Hurd and O'Rourke received from both constituents and politicians will hopefully serve as a starting point for dialogue about how Republicans and Democrats can work together — despite seemingly irreconcilable differences — on major pieces of legislation like the newly proposed health care bill and immigration reform.
They may have even inspired another great bromance. Booker-Cruz 2020, anyone?
Here's hoping we have many more bipartisan collaborations, both within and outside of Congress, to look forward to this year.