Democrats to mark 100 days of re­sis­tance

Anti-Trump sen­ti­ment in­grained

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY SETH MCLAUGH­LIN

For Democrats, the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has of­fered a chance for pay­back.

Still sour over the way Repub­li­cans treated Pres­i­dent Obama, the Demo­cratic mi­nor­ity has one word to de­scribe its strat­egy to­ward Pres­i­dent Trump: re­sis­tance.

“There is a dif­fer­ence be­tween ob­struc­tion, which is what con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans en­gaged in in the early days of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, and re­sis­tance, where Democrats have been op­posed to poli­cies that would be detri­men­tal to the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” said Rep. Ha­keem S. Jef­fries of New York, a newly minted mem­ber of the House Demo­cratic lead­er­ship team.

“Re­sis­tance is an­chored in de­fend­ing your pol­icy pri­or­i­ties that are con­sis­tent with your per­spec­tive, but be­ing will­ing to work with the other side of the aisle

when poli­cies are pro­posed, that would be good for Amer­ica,” he said.

Mr. Trump marks his 100th day in of­fice on Satur­day hav­ing faced un­wa­ver­ing op­po­si­tion to his agenda from Democrats. They have erected the worst de­lay of Cabi­net picks in U.S. his­tory, mounted a fil­i­buster of his uni­ver­sally ac­claimed Supreme Court nom­i­nee, fought his ef­forts to re­write Oba­macare and prompted in­ves­ti­ga­tions into his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s deal­ings with Rus­sia.

They also have cheered from the out­side — and oc­ca­sion­ally as­sisted with le­gal briefs — as the fed­eral courts have blocked Mr. Trump’s im­mi­gra­tion plans.

The anti-Trump sen­ti­ment has be­come so in­grained in the Demo­cratic mind­set that House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi strug­gled to come up with an an­swer Thurs­day when asked if she had some­thing pos­i­tive to say about the pres­i­dent’s first 100 days.

The Cal­i­for­nia Demo­crat in­stead talked about Mr. Trump’s use of Twit­ter.

“I was think­ing he was more of a crea­ture that stalked the night, that th­ese things just came out at night like a vam­pire, that he tweeted th­ese things,” Mrs. Pelosi said. “But now it’s spread to the morn­ing. So let me think for a while.”

Democrats came out on the los­ing end of the Novem­ber elec­tions, ced­ing con­trol of the White House and fail­ing to win the House or the Se­nate — the lat­ter of which had seemed within reach in the wan­ing days of the cam­paign.

As they pick up the pieces, Democrats have con­cluded that their path back to power re­lies not on find­ing com­mon ground but rather on fight­ing Mr. Trump at ev­ery turn, save for the few is­sues where he agrees with them.

“I think our cau­cus and the party as a whole af­ter the elec­tion and the loss to Trump went through a whole defin­ing pe­riod: Who are we?” said Rep. Raul M. Gri­jalva, Ari­zona Demo­crat and co-chair­man of the Con­gres­sional Pro­gres­sive Cau­cus. “I think what has oc­curred now is that at least in this cau­cus now in the House, I see more unity than I have ever seen be­fore. There is some com­mon pur­pose.”

Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York set the tone be­fore Mr. Trump was sworn in.

“If the pres­i­dent-elect pro­poses leg­is­la­tion on is­sues like in­fra­struc­ture and trade and clos­ing the car­ried in­ter­est loop­hole, we will work in good faith to per­fect and po­ten­tially en­act it, but when he doesn’t, we will re­sist,” Mr. Schumer said in his first ad­dress to the cham­ber as the Demo­cratic leader.

Mr. Schumer’s stance marks a stun­ning re­ver­sal. He used to crit­i­cize House Repub­li­cans for be­ing be­holden to the right-wing tea party move­ment, but Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, Ken­tucky Republican, says it’s now Mr. Schumer who is be­holden to his left flank.

Mr. McCon­nell said that has led to “just de­lay for de­lay’s sake.”

Pro­gres­sives, though, say they want to see still more ob­struc­tion. They forced Democrats to fil­i­buster Jus­tice Neil Gor­such, which Se­nate Repub­li­cans coun­tered with the “nu­clear op­tion,” al­ter­ing the rules and mak­ing it eas­ier for Mr. Trump to get more nom­i­nees to the high court.

Un­bowed, lib­eral ac­tivists say the en­ergy of the fight was worth it. They say Democrats can win by chan­nel­ing the anti-Trump en­ergy, send­ing a clear mes­sage that the Demo­cratic Party is united af­ter a nasty pres­i­den­tial pri­mary be­tween Hil­lary Clin­ton and Sen. Bernard San­ders.

“I’m telling right now, the Demo­cratic Party, there is a new spirit y’all,” Rep. Keith El­li­son of Min­nesota, the vice deputy chair­man of the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee, told pro­gres­sive ac­tivists this week. “It is not the same old thing.”

Charles Cham­ber­lain, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Democ­racy for Amer­ica, a pro­gres­sive group, said

the pub­lic is be­hind the re­sis­tance.

“I think it is pretty sig­nif­i­cant that the first 100 days of his pres­i­dency there has not been a sig­nif­i­cant bill passed,” said Mr. Cham­ber­lain, adding that Democrats will have lit­tle in­cen­tive to change their tac­tics un­less Mr. Trump starts to de­liver on the prom­ises he made to work­ing-class vot­ers.

“It seems like it is just a fan­tasy to dis­cuss a sit­u­a­tion where Democrats should be will­ing to work with him,” he said. “When you think about the fu­ture, the fu­ture is con­tin­ued op­po­si­tion. It is strong op­po­si­tion.”

The Demo­cratic Con­gres­sional Cam­paign Com­mit­tee, the cam­paign arm of House Democrats, said its can­di­date re­cruit­ment for the midterm elec­tions next year is off to a good start.

“The amount of top-tier can­di­dates al­ready step­ping for­ward to run for Congress this early in the cy­cle is very en­cour­ag­ing,” said Tyler Law, DCCC spokesman. “There’s no ques­tion that we’re see­ing a huge uptick in en­ergy at a time when Democrats are on of­fense across an ex­panded bat­tle­field.”

For now, Democrats have had to take so­lace in moral vic­to­ries.

They touted the 7 per­cent­age point loss they suf­fered in a spe­cial elec­tion race in a deep-red con­gres­sional dis­trict in Kansas as a win and are play­ing up Demo­crat Jon Os­soff’s chances of win­ning a June runoff race in Ge­or­gia — though many po­lit­i­cal ob­servers say Republican Karen Han­dle is the fa­vorite.

On Capi­tol Hill, Democrats cel­e­brated this week af­ter Mr. Trump backed off his de­mand for fund­ing for a bor­der wall in a short-term spend­ing bill that law­mak­ers are try­ing to hash out to avoid a gov­ern­ment shut­down.

That con­ces­sion still wasn’t enough for Mr. Schumer. He said Thurs­day that he would block the stop­gap bill.

Democrats also cheered on the more con­ser­va­tive el­e­ments of the Republican cau­cus that sunk the White House’s open­ing bid to re­peal and re­place Oba­macare.

Asked about the per­for­mance of his party over first 100 days of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, Rep. Joseph Crow­ley of New York, chair­man of the House Demo­cratic Cau­cus, said, “It is still a work in progress.”

“We are in a spe­cial po­si­tion here as the

mi­nor­ity — not only a mi­nor­ity, but a su­per­mi­nor­ity with the House and the Se­nate, and ob­vi­ously with the pres­i­dency [in Republican con­trol],” he said. “So our abil­ity to ini­ti­ate, to ac­tu­ally de­mand

things on the floor is more than lim­ited — it doesn’t ex­ist.

“So I think the stan­dard of suc­cess is com­pletely dif­fer­ent from that of the ma­jor­ity,” he said.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York used to crit­i­cize House Repub­li­cans for be­ing be­holden to the right-wing tea party move­ment, but it’s now Mr. Schumer who seems to be be­holden to his left flank.

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