Politics & Policy

The Bi-Partisan Option

One possibility being bandied by the White House is finding a way to peel off Democrats to build a bipartisan coalition for legislation. There are a couple of problems with this: 1) It’s a lot harder to do now than in January. Trump could have given an inaugural address that was more explicitly unifying in tone and he could have invited Chuck Schumer to the White House and said, “Chuck, you’re not leaving the room until we agree on an infrastructure package.” Then, Trump could perhaps have rolled a Republican leadership wary of crossing a newly elected Republican president. But now Trump has spent months antagonizing Democrats and has less political capital to use pushing around GOP leaders than he did a few months ago. 2) Democrats hate Trump’s bullying personal style, his tweets, and his attacks on the media and other critics. This distaste is likely to overwhelm any substantive agreements on legislation. 3) A left-wing “resistance” movement is in full swing and will target any Democrats who contribute to any Trump success.

All of this means that Trump may be an ideologically heterodox Republican who naturally should be working with Democrats in theory, but he won’t be able to pull it off in practice.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. Copyright © 2018 King Features Syndicate

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