Jack Runyan, Nov. 18, 2016.
Here’s the reality: President-elect Donald Trump won the White House without winning the popular vote. He has the highest unfavorables of any President-elect polled by Gallup since 1992. Only 29% of Americans believe Trump has a mandate to carry out his agenda.
Compare this to 2008, where President Obama won the popular vote, had very high favorables after being elected, and 50% of Americans believed he had a mandate to pursue his agenda. This was alongside a sweeping win where Democrats took over both houses of Congress. But back then, none of those political realities stopped Mitch McConnell from making his first and foremost agenda the goal to ensure President Obama was a one-term President. They simply didn’t give a fuck: President Obama’s agenda was to be opposed by virtue of the fact that President Obama was pursuing it. That’s all that mattered.
Donald Trump was elected President on one of the most divisive platforms in recent memory: he has campaigned on building an expanded deportation force. He has campaigned on a ban of all Muslim immigration to the United States. He has floated the idea that there should be some punishment for women who have abortions. He has campaigned on a national model for stop-and-frisk, which would disproportionately affect African Americans. But furthermore, the man is just as deplorable as the campaign he ran. Donald Trump has been investigated by Department of Justice for engaging in housing discrimination. The Trump Foundation fits the definition of corrupt and Trump University fits the definition of a fraudulent scheme. He faces multiple allegations of sexual assault. He spent years pushing his birther theory about Barack Obama before substituting it with a new conspiracy theory.
And what has been the response to his election from some prominent Democrats, including progressives? Take Elizabeth Warren recently for example:
“When President-elect Trump wants to take on these issues, when his goal is to increase the economic security of middle class families, then count me in,” Warren said. “I will push aside our differences, and I will work with him to achieve that goal. I offer to work as hard as I can and to pull in as many people as I can into this effort.”
“Our differences” is an unwarrantedly reductive assessment in light of the many damning realities of both Trump and his campaign as noted above. Bernie Sanders also strikes a somewhat tempered tone when it comes to potentially working with Trump on issues where Trump takes on corporate interests:
“If Mr. Trump has the guts to stand up to those corporations,” said the former Democratic presidential candidate, “he will have an ally with me.”
Schumer though went to completely deranged lengths:
Now, to be clear, both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren made clear that they will not abide Trump’s bigoted and sexist views, and that there’s simply no room for working together where those views are concerned. Okay. But what they’re essentially telling Donald Trump, and future GOP politicians who wish to run for office, is you can run a brazenly bigoted, hostile, and fear-inducing campaign and there will still be conditions where they will work with you. You can embody white supremacy and unfettered misogyny and Warren and Sanders are telling you they can still work with you on select issues. This is a time when all elected Democrats should be making crystal clear that there are, in fact, consequences for being such a person and running such a campaign, and that the onus for bringing people together and healing this country is 100% on Donald Trump, especially when Trump’s rhetoric and his policies disproportionately target people of color, who are the most reliable Democratic voters.
I don’t want to hear Democrats (or Bernie) talking about areas where they can work with Trump. I want to hear Democrats talking about how they will get organized to fight Donald Trump’s agenda every step of the way, especially when a majority of Americans didn’t vote for him, when a majority of Americans view him unfavorably, & when a majority of Americans do not believe he has a mandate.