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Thursday, February 9, 2017
Democratic Base Doesn’t Want Cooperation with Trump
Democratic Base Doesn’t Want Cooperation with Trump
Lifezette - Thursday February 9, 2017
by Kathryn Blackhurst
Approximately 56 percent of Democratic voters favor total obstruction of President Trump’s agenda over any sort of compromise, according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll released Wednesday.
As the poll reveals, a majority of Democrats are finding it difficult to cope with their 2016 political losses and are extremely reluctant to watch their party leaders work alongside Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). House Democrats are headed into their annual retreat Wednesday deeply divided over what strategy to pursue in an entirely uncertain political future.
“There was talk after the election that Trump might be a president who Democrats could work with, at least on certain issues like infrastructure.”
“There was talk after the election that Trump might be a president who Democrats could work with, at least on certain issues like infrastructure. But this new data indicates that, even if deals are possible, that’s not primarily what Democratic voters are looking for,” said Morning Consult Chief Research Officer and co-founder Kyle Dropp, according to Politico.
The Morning Consult/Politico poll, which sampled 2,070 registered voters, showed that a majority of Democratic voters believe “Democrats in Congress should stick to their principles when it comes to working with Trump, even if that means blocking all legislation or nominees for government posts.”
Meanwhile, a mere 34 percent of Democratic respondents agreed that, “Democrats in Congress should focus on finding ways to work with Trump in order to get things done.”
Thus far during Trump’s administration, congressional Democrats seem to be heeding the wishes of their party base as they throw every conceivable obstacle in the president’s path.
Led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Democrats have engaged in historic obstruction of the president’s Cabinet nominees. On his first day in office, Trump had only two of his 22 Cabinet-level nominees confirmed, whereas former President Barack Obama had seven. As of Wednesday evening, the Senate had only confirmed seven of Trump’s nominees. By this time in his administration, 12 of Obama’s nominees were confirmed and in place.
Arguing that Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Education was historically unqualified for her position, Senate Democrats led an all-night talkathon protest before Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ Tuesday confirmation vote. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), whose confirmation took place Wednesday evening, also faced intense backlash because of his strict immigration stance and decades-old allegations of racism.
Amid the chaos, the president has not let his frustration with the Democrats’ obstruction go unnoticed.
"It is a disgrace that my full Cabinet is still not in place, the longest such delay in the history of our country. Obstruction by Democrats!" Trump tweeted Tuesday evening.
It is a disgrace that my full Cabinet is still not in place, the longest such delay in the history of our country. Obstruction by Democrats!
When Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to succeed the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a number of Senate Democrats swiftly expressed their concerns over Gorsuch’s suitability — even though many of these same senators had no qualms about unanimously confirming Gorsuch to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2006. But in the hyper partisan 2017 climate, these Democrats view cooperation with Republicans to confirm Gorsuch as a dangerous prospect given pressure from bitter progressive voters to buck Trump at all costs.
As the Senate Democrats continue to mull over their options and plot further resistance, House Democrats are considering their own future as a political minority -- including whether that future will involve cooperation.
"Opposition for opposition’s sake, even if we think the policies proposed are good for the American people … I think the public would not think that’s our responsibility or duty," House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday, according to Politico.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) recently said during a CNN town hall that "We have that responsibility to the American people, to find our common ground" with Trump and the congressional Republicans.
Other Democratic lawmakers, however, believe there is no scenario in which they would accommodate the new president.
"We cannot work with this guy," said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), according to Politico. "I think at some point reality is going to hit leadership."
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley told Politico that "What our caucus needs to know is that their leadership has backbone."
"It’s not just about being against Trump," Crowley said. "It’s about what we stand for."
But if Schumer and the congressional Democrats do end up blocking the Trump administration at every turn, they may inflict lasting wounds on a party that has already lost considerable ground to the GOP.
"Mr. Schumer isn’t alone in feeling pressure from the left. His party is deeply divided between pragmatic politicians and an activist base that styles itself 'the resistance,'" Doug Schoen, a political adviser and pollster for former President Bill Clinton, wrote in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal Sunday.
"The minority leader may feel his survival depends on adopting the activist approach," Schoen added. "But outside the heavily blue coasts, it could consign Democrats to permanent minority status, continuing a trend that has cost the party the White House, both houses of Congress, 13 governorships and nearly 1,000 state legislative seats in the past eight years."