Thursday, June 22, 2017
Should Trump Take The Easy Street?
This One Amazing Trick Could Help Trump Win In 2018
On Wednesday night, President Trump bamboozled and frustrated Democrats
once again with a barnstorming campaign speech in Iowa. There, he trotted out
his litany of complaints about the media, rightly ripping them for their ridiculously
over-the-top coverage, and tossed off one-liners about a solar panel border wall
and cutting off welfare for immigrants (already federal policy).
But here’s the bottom line: Trump is best on the trail. It drives his political
opponents up a wall, forces the media into fact-checking extremis, and makes
him feel good about himself – which is important, since when he feels down
and blue, he takes to Twitter to fire off foolishly counterproductive tweets.
There are those of us who would like to see Trump out on the campaign trail
continuously, all the while delegating the technical parts of his job to Vice
President Mike Pence and his cabinet. We'd like to see Trump run the White
House the way he ran his business: as a branding enterprise for Trump, while
someone else does the heavy lifting.
But that may not be the best political outcome for Trump. The political outcome
for Trump might lie in getting nothing done.
That's not a rip on Trump. That's a rip on our politically polarized country.
The entire Democratic narrative now rests on the evils of President Trump.
With their Trump-Russia collusion story falling apart from every angle, Democrats
will have to turn to portraying Trump as a cruel threat to liberty, a dastard intent
on doing ill to Americans across the country. But it’s difficult to make that case
when nothing is getting done.
And right now, nothing is getting done. Even the much-vaunted Obamacare
“repeal” doesn’t repeal Obamacare. Tax reform isn’t going to be a winning
issue for Democrats, since raising taxes never is. Trump’s border wall has
been stalled since Day 1, and he just re-enshrined Obama’s executive amnesty.
On foreign policy, Trump has avoided major disaster thus far, muddling through
with an ad hoc strategy.
All of which deprives Democrats of a rallying point.
In order to make major gains in an off-year election, typically the party out of
power needs two things: an unpopular president, and a galvanizing piece of
legislation. President Obama provided both – his Obamacare proposals, his
auto takeover, his massive stimulus boondoggle – all of it combined to catalyze
the Tea Party into existence. In 1994, Bill Clinton’s scandals, combined with
his push for nationalized health care, did the same for Republicans.
But what if Trump doesn’t actually pass any major legislation? What if nothing
gets done? Democrats will be hard-pressed to say they require the House to
impeach Trump if Trump is no threat – and meanwhile, Trump goes around the
country preaching to the converted, getting them out to the polls in order to
protect the precious. Inaction from the Trump administration could actually
fulfill one of the first rules of political war: never interrupt your opponent when
they are making a mistake. And Democrats can't stop making mistakes.
This creates a perverse set of incentives for the Trump administration: if they
get nothing done, they can blame Democrats and also avoid portrayal as a
supreme threat to the Democratic way of life; they can even point to their few
victories as massive roadblocks to the leftist agenda (see Gorsuch, Neil). If they
get something major done, they’ll likely tick off half of Republicans and could
actually create a rallying point for the left.
So inaction may be the order of the day. And that could actually prevent
Democrats from using Trump to unite the #Resistance.