If President Trump’s speech to a joint session of Congress this week proved anything beyond his ability to rise to the occasion, it is that there are actually a number of significant matters of mutual interest between the President and Democrats.
Of course, the Democrats, most of whom sat on their hands during the President’s speech, refuse to acknowledge this because they are so afflicted by both their hatred for Trump himself and the still-unthinkable reality that America would elect him to the most powerful position in the world. The opposition party persists in treating Trump with contempt at best and as the future subject of impeachment at worst.
How ironic, though, that if you strip away all the theatrics, the faux outrage at every single thing the President does and says, and the mountain of fake news and narratives the left has either initiated or perpetuated to try and bring Trump low, Democrats actually have more in common with this president than any Republican President who has occupied the White House in a long time.
Start with the issue of trade. Trump had more in common with Bernie Sanders than any presidential candidate of either party in his denunciation of multilateral trade deals like NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership). Both Trump and Sanders put trade front and center in their campaigns. And the trade union rank and file, consistent Democrat voters ever since the formation of their unions, provided support for Trump which proved crucial to his electoral victory. Trump then demonstrated that he meant what he said by meeting with top union officials in the earliest days of his administration. It turned into a lovefest.
Then we come to an issue which has risen to prominence of late: infrastructure. The president proposed in his speech a one trillion dollar investment (public and private) in rebuilding roads and bridges as well as communications infrastructure. This is perhaps the boldest initiative on his bold agenda, and one long supported by the Democrat party When President Obama pushed through his $850 billion dollar stimulus with similar stated goals early in his administration, he enjoyed near-unanimous support from congressional Democrats. Unfortunately, a miniscule percentage of that stimulus was actually invested in roads and bridges. Obama “realized” that the “shovel-ready” projects about which he fantasized did not actually exist. Most of the stimulus money went to propping up public unions. The false premise upon which he sold that plan and the ensuing missed opportunity to do what Trump now proposes should have been a scandal of enormous magnitude, but the media mostly ignored it, as they did with Obama’s fake promise that Obamacare would allow you to keep your doctor, keep your plan and reduce your premiums.
The third issue of great import about which the President and Democrats are in agreement is the preservation of entitlement programs, foremost of which are Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Trump has pledged to sustain these programs essentially in their current state, much to the chagrin of fellow Republicans desperate to control the spiraling, out-of-control costs of entitlements as the most populous generation in American history, baby boomers, are now reaching the age of eligibility. Whether you approve of the entitlement status quo or not, there is no debating that, if Democrats are true to their own stated ideology, they should not only support Trump on this issue but even defend him against the deficit hawks and budget-cutters like Paul Ryan in Trump’s own party.
The President has also used his bully pulpit to take on the pharmaceutical companies for price-gouging, a core Democrat issue. Trump has rightfully asked the same question Democrats have been asking for years: why should so many drugs produced in the US be so much cheaper to purchase in Canada or Europe than in the homeland? Something has got to give. And once again, if the Democrats have even a shred of credibility, they will have Trump’s back on this issue.
The question now is whether party politics will take precedence over bread-and-butter issues for Democrats. Will they support policies favorable to the interests of their core constituencies, or will they allow themselves to be caught in the dragnet of Trump-hate foisted upon them by party leaders Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and others?
The Democrats’ public stance, which degraded to the point that Pelosi herself raised the I-word (impeachment) this past week, is so utterly ignorant of the reality of the American electorate circa 2017 that it is offensive to any notion of political science. The party is committing suicide by attempting to overturn, by any and all means possible, the verdict of the American people.
The way for Democrats to return to the good graces of the voters is to cooperate whenever possible with the president those voters placed in office. And as noted herein, there are plenty of ways to accomplish this. The strategy of consistently denouncing Trump as reflexively as a rooster crowing at the sunrise, calling him a Fascist, and bandying about talk of impeachment is a certain loser that will hardly endear their party to the voters who turned on them last November.