Just Say No: Why the Democratic Base is Right
There’s been an attempt by the GOP or some in the media to suggest that somehow strong opposition to Trump is not just futile but harmful.
Republicans predict the gambit will backfire and say that Democrats have misread their electorate by drawing more attention to fights they can’t win.
“They’re going to create a national narrative that the people, I think, in North Dakota, Montana, Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin, Florida are going to reject. They want results,” Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) said in an interview, naming several of the 2018 Senate battlegrounds. “At some point, these sorts of theatrical performances are going to have a political consequence.”
“Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said questions about Democrats trying to extract a moral victory by nearly derailing nominees is “kind of like asking me if it was a moral victory for the Atlanta Falcons to win the first half” in the Super Bowl (they lost after a historic second-half meltdown). “I reckon I’m going to count the votes and see if we get to 51.”
Nice try. I mean you have to give these GOPers credit for being able to feign outrage over this with a straight face. They have conveniently forgotten their own conduct of the last eight years.
The GOP wasn’t punished for its obstruction of President Obama for eight years. As for the Dems, there is a price to pay if they don’t fight Trump every step of the way.
“Democratic voters are sending a clear message to their elected officials in Washington: Stop Donald Trump at all costs.”
“A new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows that just 34 percent of Democratic voters want their party’s elected officials to find ways to work with the new president. A 56-percent majority say Democrats in Congress should stick to their principles, even “if that means blocking all legislation or nominees for government posts.”
And by the way, Trump and the GOP make it easy to block all his nominees as they haven’t been vetted effectively. Look at Tom Price and the new revelations we see everyday. Now we see his wife has been improperly profiting from his role.
But the politically smart thing to do is what the Dems are doing-what the base wants.
“But Democrats see little downside to the quixotic Cabinet fights. They’re hoping to capture enthusiasm from outside the Beltway and channel it into a political strategy — in a replay of 2009 and 2010, when the GOP largely co-opted the tea party movement to sap Obama’s momentum.”
“To that end, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sent out a list-building email to capitalize on the party’s all-night charge against DeVos.”
“They’ve awakened a sleeping giant. Some of these people were already activated, but many are coming into the political process for the first time,” Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the DSCC, said in an interview. “If Trump continues down the path that he’s going, that will create more opportunities in more states.”
“Another top GOP target for 2018, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), endorsed his party’s call to fight Cabinet nominees that don’t need Democratic votes to prevail.”
“Even if you have a circumstance where you believe it’s locked in and you know what the vote’s going to be, it’s still important to give people time to have their voices heard,” Casey said in an interview. “Because you’ve never seen anything like this in recent American history.”
But let’s also be clear: the base is right to want to obstruct Trump and the GOP. Why? First and foremost, because it’s what the GOP did for eight years and they’ve been rewarded for it.
Sorry, this is politics not beanbag. A week before the election Joy Reid made the interesting comment on Twitter that the Democrats are the party unwilling to ‘split the baby.’
I agree and it’s to their credit. But the results show that the public doesn’t always reward the true mother like King Solomon did.
While the Dems aren’t sociopaths like the GOP they have to fight harder. You’ve heard some commentators try to play the false equivalence game-‘Two wrongs don’t make a right.’
But in politics you sometimes have to play tit for tat. The way to protect norms is not to continue to color inside lines the other party keeps violating. That makes their deviancy costless and beneficial.
“Those urging Democrats to accept that they have lost this seat and simply conduct a normal judicial appointment process are asking Democrats to be the grown-ups. They’re telling Democrats to take a hit in the name of preserving an important democratic institution. But if a major norm violation goes unpunished, that institution has already been damaged. If Republicans pay no price for this transgression, it will signal that this can be done again, and it will.”
“Should Democrats filibuster this nomination, the Republican majority might well decide to deploy the “nuclear option” and abolish the filibuster on Supreme Court nominations altogether. Trump has already publicly urged McConnell to do just this. But if Republicans are already credibly threatening to abolish the filibuster, then it really no longer exists. What’s the point for Democrats to give up the filibuster when it matters but wait for a time when McConnell lets them do it? What concessions do Democrats win for not deploying a weapon in their arsenal?”
Correct, what is the value in a filibuster that is only on the books if you agree to never use it?
“Over the past few decades, Republicans in Congress have been far more likely to engage in institutional norm violations than their Democratic colleagues have. These include budget shutdowns, credit default threats, and presidential impeachment. Voters appear to be uninterested in or incapable of punishing those violations. Only members of Congress, who plan to continue to work there and hope to achieve their legislative goals, have any real incentive to keep the institution functioning. A tit-for-tat policy is ugly in the short run but creates incentives for future cooperation. If one party simply accommodates the others’ repeated violations, that is a recipe for a compromised institution.”
“But generally, Democrats don’t have a lot to lose right now. Yes, they want to pick up seats in 2018 in what will be a difficult field, but those results will largely be determined by other factors, especially the economy and Trump’s popularity. And again, we’ve seen little if any evidence that voters punish obstruction. What can Democrats hope to gain? In the long run, a functional Congress.”
Correct. In the long term, the only hope that the GOP will go back to observing norms-as it used to do in the pre Newt Gingrich era-is to prove to them that it’s costly not to do so.
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