On Wednesday, President Donald Trump was getting acclaim from conservatives and liberals alike for his rousing speech to Congress, but those at the top of the Democratic Party maintained their game faces, unwilling to give him even an iota’s worth of credit for the unifying tone.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer made the TV rounds, assuring several reporters that he was not impressed. “He talks like a populist but the way he’s been governing is totally the opposite,” he said in an interview with CNN.
On the Today Show, Matt Lauer asked Schumer if, aside from the tone of the speech, he could find anything in the content that aroused his interest.
“You didn’t find a lot of reasons to stand and cheer, but give me one thing the president said in that speech last night, Senator, where you found yourself saying ‘Yes! I can join him and get behind him on that issue,’” Lauer said.
Schumer wouldn’t budge, however. “Well, Matt, here’s the problem. He’s given a whole lot of speeches and we’ve seen that the speeches and the reality don’t match. I’ll say yes when he comes up with something that really helps working people and says I want to work with Democrats–”
“So in an hour,” Lauer said, “you didn’t hear one thing that you can stand behind this morning?”
Schumer said, “I was touched by the mention of the widow of the brave soldier who died in Yemen and things like that, but no.”
And really, this tells you everything you need to know about the folly of trying to gently work across the aisle. What good does it do? Democrats do not want Trump to succeed. The man could unveil his proposal for universal free health care, free college, the legalization of marijuana, amnesty, and a federal Department of Gay Affairs, and they would still fight him at every turn. This isn’t about what’s good for America, even in their twisted view of what that “good” is. This is about preparing for the 2018 and 2020 elections, and every day until then, the Democrats will be in campaign mode.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Trump shouldn’t offer them these carrots. If they accept, hey, he just brought a few more left-leaning independents and moderate Democrat voters into the fold. If they refuse – on issues like infrastructure, child care, paid leave, etc. – then they may have to answer to their own base.
They are in a jam. But…it’s not over till it’s over. And until the Democratic Party is a mere shell of its former self, it remains very dangerous.