With 48 senators, just three shy of a majority, exactly what have Democrats accomplished in the first 30 days of the Trump presidency?
I just performed a rough calculation and here’s what I get: Absolutely nothing.
Like a high school hitter with no discipline at the plate, they swing at every pitch and then express shock as the strikeouts pile up.
• Given an opportunity to have real buy-in, with Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota considered for Mr. Trump’s Cabinet, both interviewed and then withdrew.
AUDIO: Michael McFaul and Ed Whelan with Matt Mackowiak
• After dragging out the Cabinet confirmations to the slowest pace in modern history, they are now 0-for-6, with Betsy DeVos and Jeff Sessions each being confirmed this week as education secretary and attorney general, respectively.
Next up are Health and Human Services nominee Tom Price and Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin, both of whom will almost certainly be confirmed within days despite Democratic opposition.
• In the four hours after President Trump named his outstanding first Supreme Court appointment, Judge Neil Gorsuch, fully nine Senate Democrats pledged that they would not support a filibuster, bringing the White House to within one vote of the 60 votes needed to guarantee confirmation.
I understand that many Democrats strongly oppose much of what Mr. Trump ran on and what he is delivering now that he is in office. I don’t agree with everything he has done, although I strongly agree with most of it.
But do Democrats really intend to vocally, aggressively and indiscriminately oppose everything the president says or does throughout the first term?
Simply put, that’s not sustainable.
Like the boy who cried “wolf,” Democrats may come to regret complaining about everything, because they may need actual, useful outrage at some future point.
Many Democrats will read this and their answer will be, “But Republicans did it to President Obama!”
This is partially true, but opposing Mr. Obama’s unpopular agenda in 2010 and 2014 delivered sweeping electoral victories for the GOP in the midterms and ensured the House majority for what will likely be years to come.
Opposing Mr. Obama was popular, as was fighting Obamacare, the $1 trillion-dollar stimulus bill, “cap-and-trade” energy policy and the Dodd-Frank financial reforms.
Not only were Mr. Obama’s policies unpopular, Republicans could argue that they objectively failed.
It is true that President Trump’s approval rating is historically low in the first month of his presidency, but an approval rating in the 40-43 percent range is not unfixable. If his policies begin to produce positive results for Americans, Democrats stand to lose a great deal politically.
Indeed, Democrats are risking their political future by reflexively opposing Mr. Trump at every turn.
Some of this opposition, I recognize, is based on principle, but Democrats are also doing it out of fealty to their rabid left-wing base.
After the nine Democratic senators came out against a Gorsuch filibuster, liberal filmmaker Michael Moore pledged to recruit, fund and support a primary against every single Democratic senator who refused to support the filibuster.
Are Democratic lawmakers really that afraid of Mr. Moore?
The challenge for Senate Democrats is that 25 of them — more than half of their conference — face the voters in 2018, with 10 running in states that Mr. Trump won just 12 weeks ago. Five are seeking re-election in states Mr. Trump won decisively — West Virginia, North Dakota, Montana, Indiana, and Missouri.
It’s a perilous choice for the minority party: Risk offending the hard left and liberal darlings such as Mr. Moore, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, or ignore their voters and political reality, which will arrive far sooner than they expect.
Politically, Democrats are out on a limb. Republicans need to cut the limb.
• Matt Mackowiak is the president of Potomac Strategy Group, a Republican consultant, a Bush administration and Bush-Cheney re-election campaign veteran, and former press secretary to two U.S. senators. He is the host of a new national politics podcast, “Mack on Politics,” produced in partnership with The Washington Times. His podcast may be found at washingtontimes.com/mackonpolitics.
• Matt Mackowiak can be reached at email@example.com.
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