In 2018, Democrats and Republicans should commit to bipartisan cooperation, not self-defeating war.
Still, this is a potential turning point for Trump, and Democrats know it. It’s also a turning point for Democrats. As Trump’s policy successes mount, his approval rating is starting to climb. Democrats have also lost the wide approval gap — the so-called “generic” ballot advantage — they enjoyed just a couple of months ago.
In fact, Democrats are in the same position with Trump that Republicans faced with Obama in 2010. Should they continue to try to obstruct the new president, and make the country look ungovernable, or should they dig in, work with him, and try to wrest as much political gain as they can from shaping new laws, partly in their own image?
With mid-term election campaigning just weeks away, Democrats, who are preparing to blast Trump on Tuesday, using Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA), the great-nephew of President John F. Kennedy, as their spearhead, might want to reconsider.
Stigmatizing the president as mentally ill and unfit for office when his track record thus far has clearly defied these exaggerations and hyperbole is unlikely to win the party new friends. It could well backfire this year.
But Trump would do himself – and us — an enormous favor if he realized that he was talking to the entire country on Tuesday – not just his own staunch supporters in the Rust Belt. Don’t gloat or attack. If you think you’re beating the opposition, be generous. Extend the olive branch.
Congress could achieve a lot this year. After immigration reform, everyone agrees that rebuilding America’s dilapidated roads, bridges, and airports is the nation’s top priority. Fight over the particulars by all means, but don’t obstruct badly-needed legislation — just because you can.
The country, in its saner moments, wants greater bipartisanship from its leaders. But those leaders have to lead — together, whenever they can. Sometimes you have to put country before party. This is one of those times.