Earlier this week, President Trump made waves when he announced there would be no deal with the Democrats in the forthcoming budget battle. He increased the swells when he also insisted there would be no tax increases, contrary to Democrats’ wishes. On December 8, the government faces yet another partial shutdown unless the president and Congress can agree on a mechanism to fund it through the end of the year.
In response, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and the handful of other Leftist holdovers in Congress took to the airwaves—yet again—to portray Trump as an irrational leader. Schumer publicly ruminated how it would be better for congressional Democratic leaders to iron out deals with congressional Republicans over both the pending budget battle and the tax reform legislation.
Can you blame them? Trump is running circles around Schumer and the Democrats—to say nothing of congressional Republicans.
What Schumer and the Democrats don’t understand is that Trump has already outmaneuvered them. Schumer has no desire to work with Trump because he doesn’t know what he’s getting. Trump’s unpredictability has left the entire political class cowed. The Democrats can only behave as the party of “No!” and the Republicans have no choice but to limp along after Trump, lest they suffer at the polls.
This is good for Trump and even better for America.
How Do You Spell “Deal”?
With a vital midterm election next November, the Democrats will need to hobble the Republicans any way they can. Democratic leaders like Schumer are not open to a deal that concedes any significant ground to the Republicans. They need talking points for 2018. This is why the Democrats continue behaving as though they still have the majority. Trump understands this, which is why he is prodding the Democrats publicly.
In response, Democratic leaders can only argue that the Democrats were really close to making a deal with the Republicans until that nasty man in the White House waded into the discussion (no, they really weren’t). Purported “conservative” Democrats promise that a deal can be had—and soon!—so long as Trump and the Republicans meet the Democrats’ demands. Democrats think “deal” is spelled s-u-r-r-e-n-d-e-r. And until recently, they were confident that they’d find sufficient numbers of Republicans willing to overlook their novel sort of spelling.
The Democrats are lost. They have no viable candidates going into the 2020 presidential election and as long as the economy continues its astounding GDP growth rates, Trump’s supposed low favorability ratings will mean little in either 2018 or 2020. All the Democrats can do is behave as obstructionists—which is what they’re doing.
To complicate the Left’s narrative, Trump clearly has a set of principles he’s following. They just aren’t ideological.
Trump’s aim is to boost the economy quickly to secure as much economic prosperity for as many Americans as possible. This is not a goal shared by most Democrats. It’s not a goal of most Republican leaders, either (unless it’s accomplished according to their stated “principles”).
Neither Democrats nor Republicans are used to thinking in terms of the common good anymore. Both factions are more concerned with the interests of their masters; identity groups in the case of Democrats and ideological purists and donors when it comes to the Republicans.
The Democrats should understand that Trump will hold his ground—and even advocate things that most Democrats would favor (such as preventing Republicans from slashing people’s 401(k)s to “pay for” their proposed tax cut). Every Democrat should be applauding Trump for bucking his own party’s orthodoxy and protecting the little guy, since a 401(k) is still the best middle-class savings program available. Where were the Democrats when Trump stood up to U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) by refusing to support any tax bill that diminished 401(k)s?
Defying Republican Stereotypes
When Donald Trump ran for president, he defied all standards of conventional political logic. Here was a billionaire real estate mogul from Manhattan who had been a nominal Democrat most of his adult life. Yet, Trump ran as a Republican and campaigned against their globalist, free-trade orthodoxy. Trump broke the mold of the classic American political archetype. Republicans were meant to be buttoned-up, detached elites. Democrats were supposed to be hip men and women of the people. Yet, the reverse was true in 2016. As president, Trump continues defying the stereotype of a Republican president.
When Schumer publicly pleads to do a deal with Mitch McConnell and the usual conservative suspects, it’s because Schumer knows that he can run roughshod over them. The Democrats understand how to frighten Republican leaders in Washington, D.C.—even when the Republicans have control over the levers of power. With Trump, Schumer and the Democrats don’t know who they’re dealing with. What they do know is that Trump is going to run roughshod over them.
Trump will not allow the Democrats to set the narrative and box him in (which is why they hate his use of Twitter so much). President Trump will go to the left of Senator Schumer when it suits him, as he did with the 401(k) argument; he will run to the right when he must—always fighting to secure the best deal for the ailing middle-class.
Meanwhile, Trump’s moves are confounding the political class, which is why the elites are ratcheting up their personal attacks on Trump, his advisers, and his family—it’s all they’ve got.
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