The New Party of No
Powerful people, especially in politics, often get into trouble when they pay too much attention to the people who are blindly devoted to them and not enough to their critics. They wind up in a bubble believing they’re as wonderful as their admirers think and they learn nothing from those who oppose them.
Donald Trump may be guilty of that. He often plays to his most loyal fans while tweeting trash about his critics. If you thought the presidency was going to somehow change him, think again.
Hardly a day goes by when he doesn’t give his progressive opponents ammunition to fire at him. And many of them have decided that the only way to deal with a president they believe is illegitimate is to oppose everything he tries to do.
And because they live in their own comfortable bubble, they think they’re not only right, but that their views are far more popular than they actually are.
Let’s start with what passes for the mainstream media. Mr. Trump detests a lot of reporters, and many of them detest him. And if he’s trying to delegitimize them, they’re trying to delegitimize him. Here’s Michael Wolff in an essay he wrote for Newsweek: “The media believes that it speaks for Hillary Clinton’s national ballot box majority, for the millions who have now marched against Trump … and, as well, for obvious common sense. And the media believes that everybody believes what it believes. How could they not? It’s Donald Trump!”
His most partisan left-wing critics paint a picture of a coming Armageddon now that Donald Trump is president. There are many versions of this doomsday scenario but usually it comes down to the fear that the United States of America will become the Fourth Reich with Donald J. Trump playing the role of you know who, reincarnated.
But if you live between the coasts, and even if you’re not a big fan of the new president, this comes off, I think, as a more than a tad paranoid, not something they spend too much time worrying about.
And it’s not just the protestors in the streets with their Trump is Hitler signs who form what is known as the “resistance. It’s also mainstream Democrats pushed by their progressive constituents – Democrats who, whether they realize it or not, are becoming the Party of No, a title they once foisted on the GOP.
For a while they tried to slow-walk a few of the president’s cabinet nominees. Then they tried to garner enough support to knock off the others. None of it worked. Now they’re putting his nominee to the Supreme Court in their crosshairs.
Everyone in Washington knows that Neil Gorsuch is eminently qualified for the job. But that won’t stop Democrats from doing everything they can to portray him as a right-wing radical.
And any Democrat who is prepared to work with the new president, on his nominations or anything else, runs the risk of facing a primary opponent put up by progressive activists who see any compromise with President Trump as a betrayal of principle, as a sign of weakness, practically as a crime against humanity – and they won’t tolerate it.
This is what passes for wisdom in the confines of the progressive bubble – the belief that the problem with Democrats is that they’re just too moderate. Crazy, I know. But if you don’t believe me, just ask Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or Corey Booker or Keith Ellison who, unchecked, will lead their party right over the cliff.
In the bubble, it’s easy to believe that most Americans think the way supposedly sophisticated liberals think. But most Americans don’t oppose Judge Gorsuch, who comes across as smart, reasonable and decent. Nor do they think the temporary ban on travelers from several Muslim countries – as amateurish as the rollout was – is a crazy idea. And there’s no liberal consensus that “the wall” is a horrible racist idea put forth by a horrible racist president. Polls indicate about half the country wants the wall to go up.
Donald Trump, of course, isn’t about to win over his critics in the liberal press or the ones who take to the streets every time he says or does something they don’t like. They’re not going to vote for Republicans in 2018 or 2020. But if moderate Americans grow weary of hyper-partisan Democrats in Washington and angry protestors in the streets, Donald Trump and other Republicans up for re-election may look pretty good in a few years.
The wise, conservative opinion writer John Fund recently wrote a piece about how “Permanent outrage and hysterical doom-mongering do not attract moderate voters.”
His point was that Donald J. Trump’s biggest asset might turn out to be his “unhinged opponents.”