Trump Says He'll Work With Democrats. Will They Work With Him?
Under Obama, the GOP thrived through conflict. The other party looks to be following that example.
In one of his last interviews before leaving office, President Obama was asked to explain what drove the consistent Republican opposition to his legislative agenda. The interviewer, Ta-Nehisi Coates of the Atlantic, suggested (as you might have expected) that GOP lawmakers acted out of racial bias. The president offered (as you might not have expected) a more practical explanation.
“If Republicans didn’t cooperate,” said Mr. Obama, “and there was not a portrait of bipartisan cooperation and a functional federal government, then the party in power would pay the price and they could win back the Senate and/or the House. That wasn’t an inaccurate political calculation.”
After Republicans blocked President Trump’s plans to replace ObamaCare, he vowed to work with Democrats in Congress if necessary to advance his policy agenda. But this strategy presupposes that Democrats are interested in helping the administration succeed. As even Mr. Obama acknowledged, full resistance paid big dividends for the GOP as Democrats lost control of the House in 2010, the Senate in 2014 and the presidency last November. Some Democrats from states Mr. Trump carried, such as Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, are supporting the Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, and might back the administration on other issues—but these are party outliers, not trailblazers.
Mr. Trump’s overall approval rating is already historically low for a first-term president....
Jason L. Riley is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, and a Fox News commentator.
This piece originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal