Democrats: Should they become the ‘party of no’?
“After three months wandering in a postelection wilderness,” said Doyle McManus in the Los Angeles Times, the Democratic Party seems finally to have settled on a strategy for surviving the Age of Trump: “Resist.” Last week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi rallied her caucus to “stand our ground” against President Trump’s agenda, while Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s 48 Democrats are boycotting hearings on Trump’s Cabinet picks, using parliamentary tactics to delay confirmation votes, and threatening a filibuster of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. (See Talking Points.) To stop Trump’s aggressive attempt to remake Washington and the country in his own image, Democrats have decided to embrace a new brand: “the party of no.” That’s what the party’s base wants, said Ed Kilgore in NYMag.com. Right after the election, millions of people showed up for the Women’s March and dozens of other protests around the country, providing proof of the intensity and breadth of public opposition to Trump. The new president’s provocative policies on immigration and the environment, as well as his far-right Cabinet nominees, also convinced congressional Democrats that their only viable strategy was “total resistance to the 45th president.”
“Good luck with that,” said John Fund in NationalReview.com. A relentlessly negative, “hyperpartisan” tone will only turn off the moderate, working-class voters Democrats need to woo to have any chance of winning back the House and the Senate. “Perpetual outrage” is fatiguing, and “braying donkeys” are not appealing. Trump’s biggest asset may be the obstructionism and hysteria of his “over-the-top adversaries.” Obstructionism sure worked for the Republicans during the previous eight years, said Alec MacGillis in The New York Times. Sen. Mitch McConnell and his colleagues refused to cooperate with President Obama in any way, even on proposals to create jobs for working-class Americans. McConnell, it turns out, was right: Voters don’t really pay much attention to Washington politics, and judge the president and his party on a simple standard: Is he “getting things done”? Republicans were rewarded for their obstruction by gaining control of Congress.
It would be “flat-out nuts” for Democrats to compromise with Trump, said Alan Pyke in ThinkProgress.org. Any cooperation with the GOP would fatally blur “the brand distinction between a Democratic vision for the future and Trump’s bug-eyed retreat into fear and vengeance.” Trump’s approval ratings are already going south; becoming “the party of no” is both morally right and strategically smart. Besides, said Gabriel Debenedetti in Politico.com, the party’s base “will not tolerate any sign of accommodation.” Trump is so extreme, so unhinged, and so authoritarian that progressives will turn their fury on any Democrat who isn’t 100 percent against him.
If Democrats are smart, said Jennifer Rubin in WashingtonPost.com, they’ll go beyond their base, and work to bring a “wide and deep coalition” aboard the anti-Trump train. Businessmen, free-market conservatives, deficit hawks, and libertarians are all dismayed by Trump’s immigration ban, his proposed Mexican wall, his bullying of companies and judges, his threats of tariffs and trade wars. Most Americans do not “want to be dragged back to the 1950s.” Rather than just saying no, Democrats must counter Trumpism with an affirmative message that our “tolerant, dynamic” nation is richer and better because of immigration, international markets, strong alliances, and freedom. We can’t cower behind walls, or let fear “destroy what makes America great.”
Only in America
▪ A student group at the University of Central Florida hosted a “Leftist Fight Club” event to train libera l students to defend themselves against Trump supporters and “other Alt-Right Neo-Nazis.” An amateur boxer was on hand to demonstrate hand-to-hand combat techniques, and the clinic was billed as open to “everyone except Republicans.”
▪ A California couple is divorcing after 22 years of marriage because their disagreement over President Trump had become a “deal breaker.” Gayle McCormick, 73, a Democrat, had not previously fought about politics with her conservative husband, but felt “betrayed” by his decision to vote for Trump. “It totally undid me,” McCormick said. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 13 percent of Americans had ended relationships over the presidential election.
Good week for:
Finding true hate, after a new dating app promised to match potential mates based on things they both despise, instead of shared interests. Dubbed “Hater,” the new service is based on research showing people are more inclined to bond over shared negative opinions than over likes.
Crunchy tributes, after a single Cheeto thought to resemble the slain Cincinnati Zoo gorilla Harambe sold on eBay for $99,900. The item attracted 132 escalating bids. An 8.3 ounce bag of the snack food retails for $2.50.
Sick burns, after pop diva Mariah Carey made a music video showing her throwing the dress that she was supposed to wear at her canceled wedding to billionaire ex-fiancé James Parker into a bonfire. The custom Valentino gown was valued at $250,000.
Bad week for:
Overserving, after the Mount Airy Casino in Pennsylvania was hit with a $25,000 fine for serving 27 rum and cokes to a gambler who finally fell off his stool. “Let me say from the outset that this is unacceptable,” the casino’s attorney conceded.
A full-time job, after Australian researchers found that working more than 39 hours a week damages a person’s physical and mental health, especially when combined with parenting responsibilities.
Sean Spicer, who may soon lose his job as White House press secretary, according to CNN. President Trump has reportedly ordered aides to find a replacement because he thinks the embattled Spicer “looks weak” and was appalled that Saturday Night Live had a woman, Melissa McCarthy, impersonate him.
Boring but important
Proposal to slash green card numbers
Two Republican senators this week proposed a bill that would dramatically curb legal immigration to the U.S.— proposing to halve the number of green cards issued annually from 1 million to 500,000. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Sen. David Perdue of Georgia argue that their bill would benefit blue-collar workers, who they say have lost jobs and seen their wages stagnate due to an influx of low-skilled legal immigrants. Cotton said he had been in “close contact” with the Trump administration over the bill, which would also prevent U.S. citizens and permanent residen ts from sponsoring green cards for their parents or siblings under most conditions. The proposal could face intense opposition from both Democrats and the business lobby. ■