One of America’s major parties is committing political suicide. Surprise – it’s not the GOP.
The Donnybrook over the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court makes it clear: the Extreme Left has hijacked the Democratic Party. That’s a tragedy for Democrats, and for the country. It guarantees continued paralysis in Washington, which will prompt the Trump White House to act through executive orders and regulations, just like President Obama. That, in turn, will harden positions and extend the cycle of divisive politics.
What will it take to break this vicious pattern? A natural disaster? A terror attack? North Korea using its nuclear arsenal? The possibilities are too grim to consider. There is a better way, but Democrats can’t see it, so blinded are they by their hatred of President Trump.
If Democrats could pause for breath, they would realize something that frightens a good many conservatives –- Donald Trump is not an ideologue. He doesn’t care about (or even understand the nuances of) the abortion issue, for instance, but he positioned himself as pro-life because that’s what his conservative followers demanded.
As an elderly cab driver in D.C. said to me recently, “Donald Trump isn’t a Republican or a Democrat. He just wants to fix things.” He is completely right, but the geniuses in the opposition don’t get it.
Trump has not made any secret of his unorthodoxy. He is “fine” with same-sex marriage, he says, and not interested in reviewing the Supreme Court decision that legalized such unions. He is open to granting legal status to people in the country illegally, a stance which is anathema to conservatives and surprising to many in light of his push to close our southern border. He is also content to protect many provisions of Obamacare, much to the horror of the Freedom Caucus folks, who want to roll the clock back.
Not only is Trump not a staunch conservative, he is pliable. Sit him down in the Oval Office with President Obama for ninety minutes and suddenly he’s got “great respect” for his predecessor; three days later he’s promising to protect popular parts of Obamacare, after earlier vowing to shred the unpopular program.
Can’t Democrats turn these Trump traits to their advantage? Find a way to work with the man? The Trump White House isn’t off-limits to Democrats; they will be welcomed by Gary Cohn, for instance, a long-time Dem who is Trump’s National Economic Council Director. Chuck Schumer should find common ground with Special Advisor Jared Kushner, for heaven’s sake; Kushner helped fund Schumer’s campaign! Or how about Dina Powell, Deputy National Security Advisor, who is said to be close to Valerie Jarrett and other Dems – isn’t she a plausible ally?
Polling shows that most of the country (specifically, 63 percent of likely voters according to Rasmussen) would prefer Democrats to knock off their petulant resistance to all things Trump, and work with the White House to fix the nation’s problems. Unfortunately, the leadership of the Democratic Party doesn’t see it that way; they think they can rebuild their party’s influence by blocking the Trump agenda, even if it means losing forever those blue-collar voters that went rogue in the last election.
It’s a mistake. By following the lead of Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren, two of the most strident voices in the party, Democrats are abandoning their moderate voters. In the midst of Michael Flynn’s chaotic downfall, people said they would vote for a generic Democrat over the president (43 percent to 35 percent). But given a head-to-head match-up with Senator Warren, they chose Trump by a wide (42 percent to 36 percent) margin. That is telling.
Not only are Democrats further severing their ties with swing-state voters who objected to Obama’s progressive agenda, their so-called “resistance” isn’t even filling their coffers. The FEC reports that despite upheaval in the Trump White House and sinking approval ratings, the Republican National Committee raised $9.5 million last month, compared to $6.4 million hauled in by the Democratic National Committee. To date this year, GOP campaign committees have collected nearly $60 million, far outpacing Dems, who have raked in only $36.6 million.
So why persist in behavior that isn’t yielding any discernible results? Democrats fear they will fall prey to the same forces that felled many mainstream Republicans in the early Obama years. They’re worried they will be challenged from the Left, as many Republican incumbents were deposed by Tea Partiers on the right.
Already a political action committee called We Will Replace You, staffed and directed by Sanders supporters and millennial progressives, is promising to launch primary bids against any Democrat caught collaborating with Trump. Other groups, like the Progressive Campaign Committee, MoveOn, and Democracy for America, are also raising money to fund progressive candidates.
Squaring off against the left flank with be Organizing for America, which reportedly commands an army of some 32,000 volunteers, and has raised over $40 million since it morphed from acting as Obama’s campaign vehicle. In the fight for DNC Chair, Obama’s candidate Tom Perez won over Bernie Sanders’ pick Keith Ellison. Perez, who recently proclaimed that Republicans “don’t give a s**t about people”, and that “Trump didn’t win the election”, was considered the more moderate choice. And they say Republicans are in trouble.
Published on TheFiscalTimes.com.