As President Trump calls for unity, Dan O’Donnell notes that Democrats will do nothing but resist him for the next two years
February 6, 2019
Special Guest Perspective by Dan O’Donnell
State of the Union addresses are tediously predictable affairs. The President will tout his administration’s accomplishments, the opposing party will refuse to clap, the Vice President will try his best to stifle a few yawns.
To President Trump’s credit, he tried to liven things up. Heck, he even had Democrats standing, cheering, and chanting “USA! USA! USA!” after Trump mentioned…that a bunch of Democrats had gotten elected in November.
No, they didn’t cheer wildly for his administration’s accomplishments, they didn’t cheer wildly for inspiring stories of heroism and survival from everyday Americans, they cheered wildly for…themselves.
The state of our union is apparently pretty self-satisfied.
That Democrats would only applaud themselves and sat largely stone-faced while barely concealing their utter contempt for President Trump reveals the fundamental problem for the agenda President Trump outlined in his speech: Hatred of Trump is quite literally the only thing uniting the Democratic Party.
House Leadership can barely control its new Loudmouth Socialist Caucus, while most Democratic Senators are more concerned about their own presidential campaigns than advancing Chuck Schumer’s agenda.
“The agenda I will lay out this evening is not a Republican agenda or Democrat agenda, it is the agenda of the American people,” President Trump implored, but his pleas fell on unmistakably deaf ears.
Resistance is the only Democrat agenda. Bipartisanship is a laughable concept. Compromise is out of the question. Democrats want just one thing: Trump’s defeat.
After two years of building up hope that Robert Mueller’s investigation will end with the President in handcuffs, the Party has seemingly resigned itself to the fact that it will have to beat Trump in 2020 to remove him from power.
Stopping his agenda dead in its tracks will help.
This intransigence is the primary reason that Trump was forced to end the government shutdown without funding for his border wall: it’s impossible to make a deal with people who refuse to deal.
Trump of course reiterated his call for wall funding and made an excellent case for it, but it won’t matter. Congressional Democrats know their base will revolt if they give even (as Nancy Pelosi snidely put it, “a dollar”). Rank-and-file liberals practically lit their hair on fire on Twitter every time a Democrat applauded one of Trump’s lines. What might they do if Trump gets a few billion for his signature project?
The signature trade and foreign policy objectives Trump outlined in his speech, too, are subject to Congressional approval and thus all but dead on arrival.
He would see the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement go down in flames if two-thirds of Senators don’t approve it, and what would be the likelihood of 13 Democrats joining with the Republicans in voting for ratification?
If Trump manages to strike a denuclearization agreement with Kim Jong-Un at the summit in Vietnam that Trump announced last night, it too would require a two-thirds Senate vote to ratify.
Does this seem like a Democratic Party that would be willing to let Trump get the credit for denuclearizing North Korea? Does this seem like a Democratic Party that would be willing to let him get the credit for doing anything?
Stacy Abrams’ claim in her State of the Union Response that “even as I am very disappointed by the president’s approach to our problems, I still don’t want him to fail” is thus laughable. Her party quite simply needs Trump to fail so that it can finally be rid of him.
That, for them, is of tantamount importance. For the next two years, nothing else will matter. If a piece of legislation helps Trump, it will be rejected in either the Democrat-controlled House or filibustered in the Senate.
This isn’t gridlock; it’s open warfare, and it’s the state of our union until November of 2020.
As staid and tedious as State of the Union addresses usually are, this one stood out not for what was said, but for how it was received. Democrats didn’t have to boo; their icy stares said it all. They will fight every initiative proposed in that speech until they don’t have an ounce of fight left in them.
President Trump must therefore focus on policy objectives that he can accomplish without the creation of new laws or the allocation of new funding and hope that he can rally public opinion to the point that Democrats have no choice but to ratify the treaties he signs.
This, sadly, is the reality that Trump faces: Even policy that is objectively good for America will be viciously opposed if Democrats perceive it to be in any way bad for their chances in 2020.
Suffice it to say that the next two years won’t be nearly as predictable as the average State of the Union.