You have to give it to the opposition party.
If there’s one thing Democrats have been successful doing since taking it on the chin last November, it’s promoting an anti-Trump narrative and being nimble enough to adjust as the circumstances and storylines have evolved.
That has in effect stalled the Trump agenda that was supposed to hit the ground running immediately after inauguration.
Instead, this White House has used up too much political capital on trying to put out a never-ending string of fires that ideally would have been used pursuing a border wall, tax reform and Obamacare repeal.
Why didn’t they see this coming? The Trump White House was caught completely flat-footed. It’s difficult to understand why they might have expected a coming together of the nation after such a stunning outcome. It’s as if Trump, who came into office with the lowest approval rating in the history of Gallup, was somehow going to overcome that and lead the nation to a “kumbaya” moment.
It wasn’t going to happen in our present-day politics at a time when government plays such a role in everything.
There’s also a psychological aspect. It’s like when Alabama beats Auburn, or vice versa, in the Iron Bowl. Let’s say that game plays out like the election and one team wins off of a last-second play even though the other team was a heavy favorite. The state isn’t going to unite behind the winner of the match-up and cheer them on against their next opponent. There is way too much bitterness for that.
The two prior presidents had different circumstance upon entering office that made it a little easier for them to have some accomplishments in the early going.
President Barack Obama had the benefit of a few things Trump does not.
First, there was a desire for the country to somewhat unite behind the first African-American president. Given the country’s past sins, many people wanted to embrace Obama’s presidency.
Also, the economy was in shambles, and without a lot of good answers from the private sector on how to fix it, many people were seeking solutions from government.
That allowed Obama to do some big things, including a $787 billion stimulus bill, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).
After the 2000 election, President George W. Bush faced a similar response from the opposition party as Trump received, given the election came down to a few hundred votes in Florida.
But then the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks occurred, which immediately altered the political landscape and gave Bush a Republican congressional majority that lasted through the 2006 midterms.
He was able to score numerous legislative victories, but it was downhill after the failed push to reform Social Security.
Regardless, none of those circumstances are going to line up for the Trump administration in the short term. Fear and demagoguery are going to be the name of the game.
According to leaders of the Democratic Party, Republicans want to take away your health insurance, cede U.S. sovereignty to Russian President Vladimir Putin, give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires at the expense of the poor, and flood the entire peninsula of Florida by allowing global warming to melt the polar ice caps.
And we’re only 145 days into this presidential term. Wait until the summer of 2018, just months before the midterms when there is something up for grabs.
You can’t fault Trump and his administration for not foreseeing just how their own party on Capitol Hill hasn’t done much to further their cause. Right now, there are concurrent investigations — one by the House Intelligence Committee and another by the Senate Intelligence Committee, looking into the alleged collusion of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government.
Republicans control both of those committees. Yet, the basis of those investigations, at least publicly, remains a mystery.
Sure there’s smoke. But there’s smoke surrounding every presidential administration going back several decades. That doesn’t mean there is a fire requiring some sort of actionable gesture by the GOP-led U.S. Congress.
That’s where you have to applaud Democrats. Through a series of well-publicized narratives, they used misdirection to marginalize a White House that appears to be lost in the wilderness.
Part of that is imparting fear into Republican members of Congress who want to hang onto their seats and committee chairmanships through the 2018 midterm elections.
Even if they part ways with the Trump White House on all the agenda items that won him the election last November, do they think voters will go to the ballot box and say, “I don’t like the Republican president, but our member of Congress is one of those good Republicans”?
Or, “Well, I was going to vote Democrat a year-and-a-half from now, but since they convened a congressional inquiry into the White House, my vote is going GOP”?
It makes little sense from a political x’s and o’s standpoint to allow the Democratic Party narrative to reign supreme. Still, here we are with no major legislative victories to speak of and an endless stream of Trump administration figures being paraded before congressional committees comprising, in part, Democrats with an ax to grind.
All this made possible in part by your member of Congress.
“There needs to be an investigation,” Rep. Bradley Byrne said last March at his town hall meeting about any possible Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. Would he have made such a declaration had his party been in the minority and Hillary Clinton was president?
There’s no reason to believe the Republicans could drive such a narrative, given the previous eight years of Barack Obama. For now, that’s the quagmire and likely something that will continue foreseeable future.
The Democrats do not control any branch of government in Washington, D.C. But with the media as their tailwind, they have control of the narrative and apparently that is all they need.
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