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LinkedIn founder: if Senate were more like Silicon Valley, we'd have a full Supreme Court by now

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

When President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court of the United States, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it explicitly clear the nomination would go nowhere, the Democrats’ response to Senate Republicans was simple: Do your job.

McConnell has held firm. "This vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president," he said almost immediately after Chief Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. It doesn’t look like he is going to change is mind.

As of March, two-thirds of Americans wanted the Senate to hold confirmation hearings for Garland, a CNN/ORC poll found. Garland is a more moderate nomination from Obama, and Republicans know that unless Donald Trump is elected president, Hillary Clinton will undoubtedly pick someone even more to the left. But McConnell’s decision is a matter of principle — and one that only flies in an institution like Congress.

In a call for action, Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, a voice from Silicon Valley, put it this way: If institutions in other industries tried to pull this kind of thing — delay basic responsibilities to their liking — it would be "corporate suicide":

Imagine if entire departments at Fortune 500 companies announced they were going to stop performing key functions of their job for a year or more, with no possibility of moving forward until a new CEO took over. Investors would start dumping their stock. Customers would seek out alternatives. Competitors would make these companies pay for such dysfunctional gridlock. Eventually executives and employees would be fired.

In Silicon Valley, such behavior would be corporate suicide. In Washington, DC, it’s business as usual.

But with Congress, the threat of "corporate suicide" might be a little too late. If it’s the goodwill of the people they are looking for, that ship has long sailed. As of June 2016, only 16 percent of Americans approved of the way Congress was doing its job, according to a Gallup poll; public trust in Congress has been on a downward trend since the 1970s.

Washington, DC, simply isn’t Silicon Valley.

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