Democrats are overjoyed that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against President Trump’s immigration order. That figures; never mind the legal issues or the possible impact on the White House’s ability to enact measures aimed at keeping the country safe. Most important: it was a blow to Trump, and Democrats couldn’t be happier. It’s gotten personal.
The decision will doubtless pump up House Democrats who are meeting in Maryland, presumably exploring a path back to relevance. Given their strident denunciations of President Trump, working with Republicans to move the country forward does not appear to be an option. As Nancy Pelosi said, "As long as the president continues down this path, there is nothing Democrats can work with him on."
Which path would that be? Maybe Trump’s immigration order, which, notwithstanding the ruling of a notably liberal court, gets approval from 55% of the country, versus 38% that disapproves? Or his proposal to revoke federal funds from sanctuary cities, a policy supported by 55% of registered voters and opposed by only 33%, according to the same new Morning Consult/Politico poll?
Democrats do not appear to be talking policy at the retreat. Instead, they are doubling down on the unprecedented vitriol with which they routinely attack Donald Trump, Donald Trump’s family, his cabinet picks, his advisors, his tweets, his policies, his hotels, his hats, his everything.
This toxic posturing could well backfire as Democrats try to win back disaffected voters. As important, it could hurt the country, and for that they will not be forgiven.
The election of President Trump, like it or not, caused a surge in optimism across the country. While embittered liberals took to the streets to protest our democracy in action, investors pumped money into stocks and consumers opened up their wallets, delivering a vote of confidence to the outsider president. One measure of consumer confidence showed a post-election surge from 46.7 in early November to a 12-month high of 52.8 in the days following the inauguration.
Since then, as Democrats have slow-walked confirming Trump’s cabinet nominees and have placed themselves squarely in front of every policy he has suggested, consumer confidence has slipped almost three points, giving up much of the post-election gain. That could quickly translate into slower spending, meaning fewer jobs.
It’s not surprising. Investors and consumers alike understand that our economy needs some juice; Trump has promised to provide that, via lower taxes and lighter regulation. Democrats, of course, object to that agenda. In fairness, it has also been disheartening that the GOP does not appear to have a tax reform plan at the ready, or an agreed-upon approach to replacing Obamacare. The country wants action; whoever is perceived to stand in the way of important reforms will pay dearly.
The liberal media will blame Trump for everything that goes wrong, including less-than-immediate gratification on Obamacare and tax reform. The media, though, get worse marks than the president these days; their incessant attacks on Trump have undermined their credibility.
A poll by Emerson College showed that while 49% of the country trusts President Trump, only 39% believe in the media. Imagine that.
Meanwhile, where is the vision that will lead Democrats out of their self- inflicted political exile? Where are their policies that will boost incomes and win back the hearts of traditional blue collar Democrats?
They have none. They attack all and every Republican idea, but propose nothing.
At the retreat, Steny Hoyer, the number two Democrat in the House, tied future gains to rebuilding “our state and local parties.” He doesn’t seem to understand that attracting voters requires a winning message. Hillary Clinton didn’t have one, and neither does the party today.
Democrats need to turn around their sinking ship, but cannot find the rudder. The outrage vented by Elizabeth Warren against every Trump cabinet nominee may be helpful to Elizabeth Warren, but it may backfire. For instance, it is hard to imagine that the middle class Pennsylvania worker – the poster child for the lost Democrat voter -- is inspired by her defamation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Warren tweeted to call out Sessions’ supposed “radical hatred” and “racism, sexism & bigotry”; evidence for those charges during Sessions’ decades of public service are scant. Sessions is hated by the Left because he will execute the laws of the country – laws that are under attack from numerous sides. Laws that were often ignored by former Attorneys General Loretta Lynch and Eric Holder.
But it turns out the nation is ready for a little more law and order. That’s what the Morning Consult/Politico poll shows.
In fact, voters appear to like most of the executive orders signed by Trump. Some 54% think freezing new regulations is a good idea (33%), 48% like Trump’s decision on the Keystone Pipeline, against 37% that do not. Similar portions of the electorate agree with his moves on building a wall, withdrawing from the TPP and not giving federal money to organizations providing abortions.
Democrats read media outrage and recent numerous marches and protests as proof that they are right to oppose the new White House. As Hoyer said, “We represent the views of the majority of citizens.” They are wrong, and their mean-spirited obstruction will keep them in the penalty box. Especially if they step in the way of Trump’s constructive economic agenda.