What does Trump do now that his regime is on life support?
- Double down on pandering to the far right
- Declare war on the disloyal Freedom Caucus and see what he can do with the Ryan wing of the party
- Reach out to Democrats
Pragmatism will determine his answer; this particular President has no moral or ideological scruples or, if he does, is perfectly willing to sell out on them if circumstances mandate. So, from a pragmatic point of view, pandering to the far right is not viable. Trump was never their creature; pragmatism dictated his brief flirtation with them, but the Freedom Caucus is on Trump’s hit list now that they deserted him on healthcare.
Working with the Ryan wing is the natural outcome of breaking with the far right. The problem is that the divisions within the Republican Party between the “moderates” and the “right” are not as clear-cut as they seem. Cutting taxes on the wealthiest Americans while spending $1 trillion on infrastructure will certainly find fierce opposition among fiscal hawks from both the moderate and more conservative elements—especially now that Trumpcare is dead. Even relatively minor issues, such as women’s health care rights and Planned Parenthood carry the threat of dividing the party. So it’s not clear moderate Republicans can save Trump from this death spiral.
Which leaves No. 3: reaching out to Democrats. “Trump Considers Bipartisan Outreach” reads the headline on page one of yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. “The White House…may increase its outreach to Democrats if it can’t get the support of hard-line conservatives.”
It makes sense, I suppose, from the point of view of a Trump administration that’s on the ropes and hopes to survive a while longer. Trump has learned he can’t govern like a dictator but must form alliances. He can’t ally with his far right; his alliance with the moderates is increasingly shaky; why not then go back to his roots (he used to be a Democrat) and make nice with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi?
There are two reasons this won’t work. One: we, the Democratic base, won’t tolerate it. Secondly, neither will congressional Democrats, who are in lockstep with the base. Look, after everything Trump said and did to hurt our former President, Barack Obama—a man all Democrats revere—we can never find it in our hearts to forgive him. Nor can we forgive the party he chose to be part of, the Republicans, for their eager participation in the sliming, slander and slurs, which continued in mounting falsehood against Hillary Clinton during the campaign.
Nor can we forgive Trump or the Republican Party for their unholy war on Truth. Trump has been an insult to the human intellect. He has resorted to the basest, most blatant lies. He has pretended to believe in nonsense for the sole reason of appealing to the worst, more deplorable instincts in American civil society. He thus has offended what Democrats hold most dear: a belief in progressive human intelligence, which alone can solve the problems of modern society.
So, President Trump, if you’re considering “outreach” to us Democrats, fuggedaboudit. We don’t want or need your help; you need ours, but you’re not going to get it. Yesterday, I emailed my congressional representatives, in the House and Senate, demanding that they not cooperate with any phony attempt by Trump to cozy up to them. He isn’t serious; he does not wish to see Democratic solutions prevail; he has repeatedly trashed the Democratic Party; he is a cancer on our history. Let him stew in his own juices. He created the mess he now inhabits, enabled by a Republican Party that is beginning to see the magnitude of their mistake. Let him sink, slowly, into the morass of his own making, a sinkhole of incompetence, corruption, nepotism, lies and stupidity. Democrats owe not one damned thing to Trump, or to Republicans. Meanwhile, let the various investigations into Russiagate continue. And let Democratic preparations progress for the 2018 elections.