As a US expat, I am on average asked 3 or 4 times a week just what exactly is going on with America, the election and in particular with Donald Trump. I explain that Americans (particularly middle Americans) are rebelling against the established order and are supporting candidates from the far right like Donald Trump or from the far left like Bernie Sanders.
A colleague of mine asked what I thought it would be like if I were to conduct a mediation between Trump and Sanders. He suggested such a mediation could cover various topics including the Mexican border, Muslims, the economy, ISIS, attitudes to women, the budget, the military and so on. He wanted to know how I would control Donald Trump in a mediation setting.
I thought about it and said that the first thing I would have to do is to offer Mr. Trump something in order to have him sit down and participate in a mediation with Mr. Sanders. I came up with the solution of sponsorships with a payment to Donald and Bernie dependent on a successful resolution and with the agreement to release all or portions of the mediation mutually agreed upon.
I would be the mediator in a private but recorded mediation. No outside agency would have access to the contents. The tape would only be released by mutual consent between Donald, Bernie and myself. If there were no such agreement, it would be released to the public in 50 years.
The mediation would be based on the facilitative model. Both parties would detail the issues they wished to speak about. We would prioritize them and then set an agenda. We would have to commit an entire day to cover as many issues as possible.
Each party would have no more than 10 minutes to explain why a particular matter was an issue. For example, if we were discussing building a wall across the Mexican border, I would ask Donald to tell me why he felt it was an issue. When he finished explaining his reasons I would ask Bernie why it was an issue for him. We would then discuss each party’s position and then discuss how they could work out a solution given their divergent views.
There would have to be strict ground rules. No interruptions, no grand standing, no rudeness, no sarcastic remarks and the like. If that were to happen, a private session would be set up to discuss what the problem was and see if we could return to discussing the issue in a civil and respectful manner. If either party could not follow this simple rule, a shuttle mediation would be conducted in which I would go from room to room stating each party’s views and the proposed solutions. None of the taped private sessions would be eligible to be released to the public for 50 years.
If either party were unable to control themselves, then I would have the authority to terminate the mediation and the parties would forfeit the money. The confiscated money would then be donated to charity.
Once agreement on any or all issues was arrived at, I would ask the parties if they wanted me to write them down. The agreements could also be released by mutual consent.
My friend asked why Donald would cooperate and how I would manage him. I explained that Donald would not only be paid, but it would show to the American public that he could work with anyone, even if they were politically opposed to him. I further explained that Donald would cooperate as he would see that he had the “perceived” power and control of the process and agreement.
I concluded to my friend that once you were able to work with Donald one on one, he would not have to act out for an audience. I would love the opportunity to have these two men sit in the same room and mediate all issues. I have no doubt it would work.