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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Democrats: Should they become the ‘party of no’?

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. 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 Kilgorein 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 efused 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.”

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