Politics these days needs lots more cooperation, compromise, negotiated deals.
You give a little something, you get a little something.
So, since Tom Wolf wants a little something from Scott Wagner and Scott Wagner wants a little something from Tom Wolf, maybe both can benefit from (excuse the phrase) the art of the deal.
And since the two already are on board with having a game show host — Alex Trebek of Jeopardy! — as a debate moderator, they should stay in the game-show mode and play a little Let's Make a Deal.
Trebek is booked for a Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry-sponsored Wolf/Wagner debate in Hershey on Oct. 1, the sole scheduled debate.
The contentious candidates can use that date as inspiration to honor the memory of Let's Make a Deal cocreator and longtime host, Monty Hall.
Hall died at the age of 96 about one year before the scheduled debate.
And the deal?
Wagner releases his tax returns. Wolf agrees to more debates.
Or Wagner releases one decade of returns for one more debate. Or two decades for two more debates. There's wiggle room here.
Any such deal gives each campaign something it wants. More important, it gives voters something they deserve: traditional transparency from Wagner; traditional electoral spirit from Wolf.
Without such a deal, both these multimillionaires are playing to their own interests instead of the public's.
As is, Republican Wagner is following Donald Trump's lead by flouting electoral tradition and refusing to make his tax returns public.
Not required. But common practice for decades here in Pennsylvania. And Wolf releases his.
So, Wolf's camp plays whack-a-mole with the issue. Wagner goes after Wolf on something. Wolfies hammer on tax returns, asking, "What's Scott Wagner afraid of?"
As for Wolf, his campaign last week said the Hershey debate is a one-off.
There's no rule that candidates for high office must debate a certain number of times. But Pennsylvania's practice in races for governor has been three.
Even for incumbents. Gov. Rendell gave former Pittsburgh Steeler and NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann three in 2006. Gov. Corbett gave Wolf three in 2014.
It's a good practice.
And, of course, after I wrote that Wolf is willing to do only one debate, Wagner asked, "What's Tom Wolf afraid of?"
Guys, you're both wrong.
And the problem is if you stay that way you encourage voters to think the worst, which, frankly, doesn't require much encouragement.
Is Wagner as wealthy as he portrays? Does he use tax dodges? Give little or nothing to charity?
Wagner has said his money is nobody's business and he doesn't want his employees knowing what he makes for fear some union (he's not a union fan) comes in and organizes nonunion workers at his waste company.
But public service isn't about you. If you want to run a state that handles billions of the peoples' money, you should show the people how you handle your money.
As to Wolf's decision to curtail debate, some see Wolf seeming soft in the face of Wagner, a fighter whose promises to cut state spending and eliminate property taxes have populist appeal. Others see Wolf — Ivy League-educated with a Ph.D. — as dismissive of Wagner, a high school grad.
But it's pure incumbent-protective politics. Wolf leads in what looks like a Democratic year. Why take chances?
Yet debates, while not often determinative, are helpful to voters and the democratic process. Limiting debates is not.
Wolf argues for more open politics to empower voters and improve democracy. Voting reforms, campaign finance reform, redistricting reform, and more. His one-debate decision clashes with such espousals.
I asked both campaigns about making a deal. Here's what I got back.
From Wagner spokesperson Andrew Romeo: "Things people don't care about for $1,000 — Scott Wagner's tax returns. Things people do care about for $1,000 — Gov. Wolf being afraid to debate."
The Wolf campaign declined to comment on my proposal.