Reality check for Dems: Against the GOP and Trump, they can't win
From one end of the country to another, Democrats and their activist allies have tried to outdo one another in painting an apocalyptic future for America under Trump.
They have referred to the president and his supporters as fascists so many times, you almost expect the Nazi flag to be unfurled at the next White House press conference. They have raised the specter of a Trump dictatorship, railed against Trump's "unconstitutional" executive orders, predicted that under Trump, women will be forced back into the kitchen – barefoot and pregnant – blacks and other minorities will lose their civil rights, gays will be forced back into the closet, public schools will be destroyed...
Yada, yada, yada.
To counter this, Democratic activists have been screaming for the party in Washington to block every move Trump makes. No matter how trivial or unimportant, the rioters and demonstrators have issued dire warnings that Democrats who don't oppose Trump will be challenged in the primaries.
So Hill Democrats have dutifully done their best to throw a monkey wrench into confirmation of Trump cabinet nominees. They have threatened to filibuster Trump's Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch. They have promised to save Obamacare, block GOP tax cut efforts, and generally act as if they were in the majority.
Earth to Dems: Did you check the election results from last November?
• Given an opportunity to have real buy-in, with Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota considered for Mr. Trump's Cabinet, both interviewed and then withdrew.
• After dragging out the Cabinet confirmations to the slowest pace in modern history, they are now 0-for-6, with Betsy DeVos and Jeff Sessions each being confirmed this week as education secretary and attorney general, respectively.
Next up are Health and Human Services nominee Tom Price and Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin, both of whom will almost certainly be confirmed within days despite Democratic opposition.
• In the four hours after President Trump named his outstanding first Supreme Court appointment, Judge Neil Gorsuch, fully nine Senate Democrats pledged that they would not support a filibuster, bringing the White House to within one vote of the 60 votes needed to guarantee confirmation.
I understand that many Democrats strongly oppose much of what Mr. Trump ran on and what he is delivering now that he is in office. I don't agree with everything he has done, although I strongly agree with most of it.
But do Democrats really intend to vocally, aggressively and indiscriminately oppose everything the president says or does throughout the first term?
Simply put, that's not sustainable.
Like the boy who cried "wolf," Democrats may come to regret complaining about everything, because they may need actual, useful outrage at some future point.
Many Democrats will read this and their answer will be, "But Republicans did it to President Obama!"
This is partially true, but opposing Mr. Obama's unpopular agenda in 2010 and 2014 delivered sweeping electoral victories for the GOP in the midterms and ensured the House majority for what will likely be years to come.
Opposing Mr. Obama was popular, as was fighting Obamacare, the $1 trillion-dollar stimulus bill, "cap-and-trade" energy policy and the Dodd-Frank financial reforms.
Not only were Mr. Obama's policies unpopular, Republicans could argue that they objectively failed.
It is true that President Trump's approval rating is historically low in the first month of his presidency, but an approval rating in the 40-43 percent range is not unfixable. If his policies begin to produce positive results for Americans, Democrats stand to lose a great deal politically.
Indeed, Democrats are risking their political future by reflexively opposing Mr. Trump at every turn.
Part of the problem for Democrats is that they are far from united. No fewer than nine Democratic senators have come out in favor of giving SCOTUS nominee Gorsuch an up or down vote. In fact, at this point, it doesn't appear that the GOP Senate will have to employ the nuclear option to get Gorsuch confirmed.
You can already hear the wailing and gnashing for teeth in the Democratic hinterlands, but Hill Dems are facing a reality that their hysterical supporters fail to realize.
They don't have the numbers to oppose Trump on any significant issue as long as Republicans vote in a near unanimous bloc.
On the DeVos nomination for education secretary, there were two GOP defections. But Vice President Pence was able to break the tie and get DeVos confirmed. The GOP is having trouble getting its act together on Obamacare, but the party is slowly moving to form a consensus on what should be done about the law. Senior Republicans indicate that they expect to have a package they can start voting on in late spring.
Tax cuts are another issue that Dems might look to derail. But the White House is developing its own set of proposals and a strategy to pass them – something the Democrats lack entirely.
The bottom line is that Democrats are losing. And they will continue to lose for the foreseeable future, which will enrage their base, putting more pressure on Hill Democrats to hold the line against Trump. This will lead to more defeats, and the vicious cycle will continue.