How Democrats won the pres­i­dency

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION - KATH­LEEN PARKER kath­leen­parker@wash­

Rarely, if ever, have so many pres­i­den­tial win­ners and losers been so in­ces­santly chatty. Hil­lary Clin­ton — who lost the 2016 elec­tion, in case you weren’t sure — is on a book tour with her cam­paign mem­oir, “What Hap­pened.” (Hint: She’s a woman, the Comey let­ter.)

Pres­i­dent Trump — who is still cam­paign­ing de­spite hav­ing won — is chat­ting up Democrats to try to get some­thing done. Any­thing! By week’s end, he was re­cant­ing ev­ery mean thing he ever said about il­le­gal im­mi­grants and was soft­en­ing his vow to send “dream­ers” (chil­dren brought here by their par­ents) back to their point of birth.

Mean­while, Barack Obama, who al­ready had his turn but can’t quite quit the pres­i­dency, is still talk­ing.

Fi­nally, Sen. Bernie San­ders of Ver­mont, who lost the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion to Clin­ton, is still run­ning and still rant­ing about Medi­care for ev­ery­one. Given the likely even­tu­al­ity of a sin­gle­payer health-care sys­tem, he and Larry David may as well take a vic­tory lap. It’s be­gin­ning to seem that San­ders won af­ter all. As did the Democrats.

On the los­ing side are the Repub­li­cans who put their faith in a guy who promised the moon but has man­aged only to de­liver a gal­axy of tweets and sev­eral sig­nif­i­cant staff re­place­ments. Trump the Repub­li­can was al­ways a strain to credulity, but peo­ple can make them­selves be­lieve just about any­thing, as thou­sands of years of rit­ual sac­ri­fice and snake dances con­firm. Trump the sales­man has al­ways known this, ei­ther in­stinc­tively or as the re­sult of his first suc­cess­ful con.

There are two things to know about con artists: One, they’re hav­ing fun; two, once a bluffer tastes the sweet sat­is­fac­tion of scam­ming a sucker — one’s born ev­ery minute, you know — he can’t stop. Once The Don­ald re­al­ized peo­ple would buy his brand of unc­tion, he couldn’t re­sist. No mat­ter what he said or did, peo­ple of good (and not so good) faith donned their pro­tec­tive glasses and re­fused to see.

Trump was never ide­o­log­i­cally driven, though he did sur­round him­self with ide­o­logues as help­mates. Or were they the big­gest suck­ers of all?

This thought fi­nally be­gan to take shape when Trump re­cently met with the en­emy — House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). De­pend­ing on whose ver­sion one prefers, they dis­cussed mak­ing a deal on both the fu­ture of hun­dreds of thou­sands of young un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants and what Trump called “ex­treme se­cu­rity.”

Al­most in­stantly, Bre­it­bart slapped Trump with a head­line and a nick­name: “Amnesty Don.” How quickly Stephen K. Ban­non shape-shifted from White House chief strate­gist and Trump’s per­sonal Pravda to his an­tag­o­nist. Other Repub­li­cans, pre­sum­ably speak­ing for the base, de­clared Trump’s pres­i­dency ka­put.

Then again, maybe Trump de­cided it was time to get some­thing done. Maybe hid­den deep within, he has a heart. Or, more likely, he saw polls say­ing that most Amer­i­cans think chil­dren brought here not of their own ac­cord should be al­lowed to stay in the coun­try where they grew up.

Maybe he gets his wall in the process, maybe not. But what seems in­creas­ingly clear is that, while Clin­ton tries to purge her demons by ex­plain­ing how she lost, Trump is busy fash­ion­ing a per­fect world for Democrats to pre­vail. Which is to say, he may get more ac­com­plished for the Demo­cratic Party than Clin­ton could have with a Repub­li­can-dom­i­nated Congress.

Con­sider: Im­mi­gra­tion re­form is be­gin­ning to look a lot less dra­co­nian and a lot more pope-ish. Ban­non, a Catholic, no­tably re­marked dur­ing a re­cent “60 Min­utes” in­ter­view that the church has been “ter­ri­ble” on im­mi­gra­tion, en­cour­ag­ing for­give­ness rather than wall-build­ing, be­cause, he said, it needs il­le­gal im­mi­grants to fill the pews. Such a charmer, that one.

Also, the wall is not, in fact, get­ting built, though re­pairs are cur­rently be­ing made to ex­ist­ing wall-like struc­tures. Ditto health care, which, in­stead of be­ing re­pealed and re­placed, likely will be an Oba­macare fix, fol­lowed by the sin­gle­payer sys­tem that Democrats wanted all along and that Trump sup­ported be­fore he be­came a “Repub­li­can.”

Thus, it would seem that Democrats re­ally won the elec­tion and that Trump, de­spite his faux-an­gry cam­paign prom­ises, is a pretty good Demo­crat af­ter all. Con­grat­u­la­tions, Mr. Pres­i­dent, on your best per­for­mance yet. Con­grat­u­la­tions are also owed to for­mer pres­i­dent Obama, whose chief legacy sur­vives. Con­grat­u­la­tions, Sen. San­ders: Your day is nigh.

Fi­nally, con­grat­u­la­tions, Madame Sec­re­tary: Ev­ery­body knows you won, as well as why you lost. You get the last word, a great hair­cut, and you didn’t have to take the worst job in the world. Not a bad day’s work.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.