Trump meets with Democratic congressional leaders and the world didn't come to an end. Could this lead to a revival of the art of the deal?
The sun came up this morning. A lot of opinionated columnists, writers and political activists had to be wondering if the world would end during the night. Why? President Donald Trump, a Republican actually sat down with Democratic Congressional leaders and tried to work out a compromise on the DACA issue and the securing of the nation’s southern border.
OK, maybe it’s not on the level of the destruction of the Berlin Wall, but it is a significant event in the US political theater, no pun intended. For the better part of the last 25 years, Republicans and Democrats in Congress have failed to agree on anything of significance. Certainly, there have been resolutions and the like that received bi-partisan support, because no one wants to be accused of opposing popular positions. That would be providing sound bites for the next campaign to the future opponents.
Every president calls for bi-partisan committees to work together for the common American good, but it all falls on the deaf ears of the delegates, who are rock solid in their commitment to their own brand of ideology. Compromise has become taboo in Washington, about as rare as a unicorn sighting.
Then along comes Trump. He ran as a Republican, campaigned on standard Republican issues, championed Republican ideals as being pro-American, and promised to drain the swamp inside the Beltway. There were those even in his own party that questioned his commitment to the GOP, and he was demonized by the Democrats and the supporters on the left who saw him as the Anti-Christ (even those who don’t even believe in the original Christ).
Despite all that, Trump was elected president. In the first few months, the left continued their partisan attacks, but they were joined by members of the Republican “establishment” in being critical of his policies and decisions as well.
The result was the Republicans, almost all of whom campaigned on Obamacare repeal at some point, failed to get it done. To this point, tax reform, which almost all Republicans campaigned on at some point, has not been done. Immigration reform, which almost all Republicans campaigned on at some point, has not been done. And all of this with the Republican Party in control of the House, Senate, and the White House.
Failing to receive the required support from his own party to get his proposals enacted, is it really all that surprising that Trump has reached out to gather needed support from the enemy, the Democrats in Congress? Trump champions himself as the master of the deal, so who should be taken aback by his attempt to make a deal?
Of course, his Republican base will explode; just the thought of cooperation with the dreaded Democrats, or anything less than total capitulation will be viewed as Trump turning on them. And most of the hard left will feel the same way, that the Democrat leadership has deserted them to join with the most despicable man they have ever known.
But what will happen if Trump’s strategy actually works? Will it really be all that bad if both sides get a little something out of the deal? Maybe it could lead to cooperation on other issues, like healthcare, tax reform, and legal immigration. Would that be all that terrible?
The far right will hate him; the far left already hates him. But maybe the vast majority that are in between the extremes will take a look and say, “Hm, maybe there is something to working together that can benefit us all.”
We’ve seen that spirit on display in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. We’ve seen people working together regardless of race, religion, gender or political affiliation for a common cause. Would it be so bad if that were to happen in the nation’s capital?
Let’s encourage our leaders to give compromise a try. We can always go back to hating each other if it doesn’t work out. What have we to lose?