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100 Days of Trump: In the big picture, Democrats are mere gnats on the elephant’s behind

It’s safe to say there are a ton of men and women in suits (and pantsuits) making an awful lot of money in Washington DC “consulting” on politics these days.

These establishment creatures hire polling firms to test public opinion. They enlist the Frank Luntzes of the world to conjure up focus groups full of “undecided” and “independent” citizens to measure prevailing attitudes Nancy Pelosion a variety of subjects.

In some respects all of this is necessary for survival in today’s partisan swamp. But there are other aspects of politics that are entirely predictable – no consultants needed.

Such was the case for forecasting the Democrats’ reaction to the defeat of Ryancare last Friday. Members of the opposition party spent the weekend literally hooting and hollering with glee as they shoved blame in all directions at the hapless GOP. Foremost among them was none other than House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who some are saying is enjoying a resurgence of power and influence.

Heather Caygle of Politico reports, “Republicans have turned to Pelosi for years to deliver Democratic votes on must-pass legislation to keep the government open and raise the debt ceiling. But with Trump in the White House and the GOP in control of Congress, dismantling Obamacare was supposed to be the first example that Pelosi’s help was no longer needed, much less wanted.

“Instead, House Republicans’ crash-and-burn pointed to the opposite. The leader of the seemingly powerless House minority might actually have some juice. And the unexpected dynamic is already showing signs of uniting her own caucus, which has been struggling to come together after Democrats’ crushing election losses.”

Wow. I expected the Democrats to be jubilant in the wake of the Republican healthcare implosion but I didn’t think they’d be delusional. Of course the Democrats are united – and have been all along. Why shouldn’t they be?

I’ll assume the role of a “consultant” and tell you what Democrats see. First they notice a president who lost the popular vote (not that it really matters a hoot in the scheme of things) who remains relatively “unpopular” in the national polls. Fueled by a complicit and equally euphoric media, Trump’s unfavorable rating is “historically” high for a new president largely because all of his accomplishments thus far are either opposed or underreported by the Fourth Estate.

Take for example last week’s action on the Keystone pipeline.

Kyle Feldscher of the Washington Examiner reported, “After years of stalling under President Obama, President Trump on Friday approved the Keystone XL pipeline, and the company looking to build the massive pipeline project has received its permit to finish it.

“TransCanada announced Friday morning the State Department issued a permit to build the 1,187-mile pipeline stretching from Alberta, Canada to oil refineries in the Gulf Coast region of the U.S. The project had previously been stopped by President Obama in November 2015, but Trump ordered it reviewed once again during his first month in office.”

This is a big deal, folks. Not only will it mean tens of thousands of new jobs to construct the pipeline, the energy flowing out of it (830,000 barrels a day) will eventually allow the United States and Canada to compete with OPEC for the lion’s share of the world market.

But instead of devoting time and attention to a Trump-inspired accomplishment like a pipeline that will impact and benefit all Americans the media and the Democrats (I repeat myself) crowed over the pulling of Ryancare and their impending filibuster of the unquestionably qualified Judge Neil Gorsuch.

In addition to a perceived weakened Trump, Democrats also see a dysfunctional Republican party headed by incompetent and politically tone-deaf congressional leaders and a new president who exudes confidence as a negotiator yet hasn’t yet mastered the “Art of the Deal” when it comes to swaying politicians.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are entirely united against everything Trump and the Republicans do, so there’s really no secret as to why Pelosi is suddenly feeling “relevant” again. If she can somehow convince Trump (as the Politico article suggests) to come to her first instead of trying to find votes for his most imperative initiatives within his own party, her importance increases exponentially.

There are a lot of reasons why that won’t happen, however, most notably the fact Trump has a very long memory for people who say nasty things about him and I would challenge you to find a single Democrat who’s praised the president or even hinted that he could enjoy their support on certain issues.

Okay – maybe there are a couple Democrat senators like West Virginia’s Joe Manchin or North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp. But if Trump’s approval rating sinks any further, those few Democrats are going to head for the hills too, sensing some sort of electoral wave is coming to rescue them next year.

They’ll suddenly remember they’re Democrats real fast. No more nonsense-talk of being “independent” and voting the interests of their states.

Also, where is Pelosi going to get the votes to pass major Republican initiatives? Assuming conservatives would continue to be the holdouts on future establishment bills backed by Trump, what Democrat in his hallucinating right mind is going to join the “unpopular” president and the clownish House GOP leadership to pass a bill?

Lastly, Would Senate Democrats take kindly to Pelosi’s gesture to “make nice” with Trump and the Republicans to pass bills? Is there enough pork in the world to buy off both Pelosi and Chuck Schumer?

I just don’t see it. Besides, the Democrats have more than enough problems of their own, not the least of which is a lack of a true leader – or reasonable prospects of getting one.

Kristin Tate wrote in The Hill, “The GOP has its divisions, to be sure. However, they are relatively unified on the larger points. Democrats have been forced to call up the reserves, leaving has-beens such as Nancy Pelosi and not-quite-ready for primetime Chuck Schumer as the party faces. There's no credible leader to bridge the gap between the progressives and the left-leaning centrists.

“Making it worse is that the Democrats so mishandled and neglected elections outside of California that they have no farm team. The national Democrats are out of prospects. It's obvious. With few exceptions (Cory Booker and Julian Castro are the only two who come to mind), the leading Democrats have several things in common: they are white and old. How old? In the House, they are an average of 64 years old, over a decade more than Republicans.”

Democrats also err in assuming Republicans will be permanently divided on all big issues. Healthcare was particularly troubling for the GOP because there were literally hundreds of different Republican opinions on what should be done about it, ranging from getting government completely out of the industry to saving most of the provisions of Obamacare.

Other issues are more cut and dried such as lowering the corporate tax rate. There’s more unanimity there than Democrats think, especially if Trump turns to conservatives for leadership.

Republicans will get their act together. Trump will work with them first because he knows in his heart that the Democrats hate him and will do everything they can to sabotage his presidency – not just one issue. Republicans only lose in all of this if they decide the game’s over and head home. Democrats can’t win anything without a heavy dose of Republican assistance.

The Democrats are little more than an annoying gnat on the thick backside of the proverbial elephant. It’s long past time to squash it.

This time it’s the Democrats who are hopelessly divided on a headlining issue

With only a week to go until the Senate votes on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court (Judiciary Committee on April 3 and the full Senate later next week), the two parties are drawing battle lines to determine the degree of resistance to confirmation.

With no Republicans having announced opposition to Gorsuch thus far, his nomination will go through, period. The only remaining question is whether the Democrats will vote to filibuster Gorsuch and thus trigger the formidable “nuclear option” from the Republican side.

Gorsuch got some good news from a somewhat unexpected source last Friday.

Ryan Lovelace of the Washington Examiner reported, “In a letter obtained by the Washington Examiner, the National Congress of American Indians and the Native American Rights Fund write they ‘have confidence that Judge Gorsuch will be open-minded to all perspectives,’ citing their experiences with the judge and his judicial record.

“The letter puts pressure on Western Democrats — such as North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Montana Sen. Jon Tester, and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet — who are considering whether to filibuster or support the judge's high court nomination.”

Isn’t it funny how everyone was talking about the Republican intra-party struggle the past three weeks on healthcare and now the shoe is on the other foot in homing in on the Democrats’ own divisions over the nomination of Neil Gorsuch?

Nothing in the world of politics is ever easy unless you have complete unanimity -- like the Republican senators do on Gorsuch. So much for all the recent GOP “party in crisis” pontifications by the media.

Though there were a few Republican defectors on certain nominees, all of Trump’s cabinet appointments made it through (except for the ones who withdrew) on votes. Democrats didn’t manage to defeat a single one on their own and they won’t beat Gorsuch either.

The Native American groups’ letter completely undermines the Democrats’ absurd argument that Gorsuch is a compromised elitist who can’t be impartial to the parties in a court case. It’s all a bunch of smoke signals, isn’t it?

Chuck Schumer may be convinced he has the numbers for a filibuster but there are signs his caucus may be bending under the pressure to confirm Gorsuch. Even the ultra-liberal senator from Vermont said he’s not inclined to support a filibuster…and we’re not even talking about Bernie Sanders here.

Again, Ryan Lovelace reports in the Washington Examiner, “Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democratic Judiciary Committee member, said he does not intend to filibuster Judge Neil Gorsuch's Supreme Court bid.

“Leahy told VTDigger he has no intention of supporting Gorsuch, but indicated he may not share Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's desire to filibuster the judge.”

Leahy could change his mind; after all, he is a liberal. But from all the signs it looks like the real squabble among the Democrats is how hard to push Mitch McConnell to use the nuclear option.

So it was the Republicans last week and now it’s the Democrats who can’t agree on anything. Ain’t politics grand?

Trump can and must use his bully pulpit to help people out of Democrat dependency

Much of the coverage surrounding the Republican circular firing squad on the healthcare debate focused on the internal divisions in the party between conservatives, the establishment and the nebulous and poorly defined contingent of “moderates” in the GOP.

Little attention was paid to the various coalitions that make up the Republican Party other than to bash on the Freedom Caucus and grassroots groups as obstructionists.

The Democrats were almost completely ignored on the issue. Why ask them what they think when they’re not even engaged? Such was certainly true for the Democrats’ most loyal supporters, African-Americans, though President Trump did meet with the Congressional Black Caucus last week.

As would be expected, nothing much came from the meeting other than some smiles, photos and promises to continue the dialogue.

There’s one way Trump could improve his and the Republicans’ standing with black Americans and it has nothing to do with meeting with the CBC.

Ed Rogers wrote in the Washington Post, “[L]et’s remember that the CBC isn’t interested in working with Republicans, let alone Trump. It has sworn to resist him at all costs and paint the GOP as villains. Trump shouldn’t stick to the same old, same old. He has the unique opportunity to go around the exhausted CBC leadership and speak directly to people. A few young, ambitious African Americans might just be willing to listen to the president if he told them that the best thing they could do for themselves, their families and their neighborhoods would be to try to get rich — and that he wants to help.

“It’s a simple message, and Trump doesn’t need to have all the answers from the get-go. In starting a conversation, all the president needs to do is be credible in saying that he wants young African Americans to have a chance and that he will try to reshuffle the deck so that those who want to get rich have a better shot today than they ever would have previously.”

Rogers is a Republican – and white – so I’m sure black Democrats would say he doesn’t have a clue as to what he’s talking about.

Trump has always shown a willingness to talk about subjects many Republicans instinctively shy away from. Trump’s meeting with the CBC is yet another topic the press underreported last week. To his credit Trump seems to enjoy meeting with political friends and foes alike, having generated headlines during the transition by sitting down with people like football legend Jim Brown, Al Gore and leftist enviro-actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

None of them were supporters; it didn’t matter.

In the larger scheme of things Rogers is right about Trump and African-Americans, even if his suggestion of going to inner cities and asking people if they’d like to get rich isn’t likely to persuade many people. Trump can accomplish a lot by working with businesses to improve work prospects in blighted areas and making progress on school choice for the economically challenged.

It will get peoples’ attention when their lives get better. None of these things the Congressional Black Caucus is likely to help with. They’re Nancy Pelosi’s base of support.

Trump has the chance to be a transformational president just by engaging traditional Democrat constituencies and bringing alternatives to those who are inclined to listen.

Only then will the cycle of Democrat dependency end for America’s cities.

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