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home : opinions : opinions May 24, 2017

5/4/2017 7:30:00 AM
Trump's biggest enemy: The Republican Party

Some people never learn, and by that we mean the establishment of the Republican Party.

It is quickly becoming apparent, as Trump passes his 100-day mark as president, that the Republican Party is the single biggest threat to the Trump agenda.

This is an assertion that cannot be seriously doubted or disputed. It has to be because the Republicans control both houses of Congress. If Trump can't get his agenda through, and so far he can't, it's the Republicans who are blocking it.

Oh sure, Republican apologists whine about the 60-vote threshold in the Senate to break filibusters, but we all saw with the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court how easily that can be overcome.

Not only that, there is no constitutional standard enshrining the 60-vote rule; the constitution says the Senate can set its own rules. As former Senate majority leaders Bob Dole and Trent Lott recently wrote, the 60-vote threshold is nothing but farce, a power play dressed up as tradition.

The truth is, there are no excuses, and, come the 2018 elections, it's all going to be on the GOP's shoulders if Congress doesn't get its act together and enact the Trump agenda.

Of course we know it won't. It never does, and the party never learns.

That's why voters rejected Republican candidates in favor of the more populist Trump in the first place. And that's why they will reject Republicans in 2018. Get ready for a Democratic Congress.

Here's why. If the failure to replace Obamacare earlier this year was a sad and embarrassing debacle, the just passed budget resolution authorizing a trillion dollars in spending for the rest of the fiscal year was even worse.

In authorizing this bill, Republicans rejected virtually every aspect of President Trump's agenda. It was essentially a Democratic dream, and led Democratic leader Chuck Schumer to crow: "Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate were closer to one another than Republicans were to Donald Trump."

And that's exactly the point. As conservatives have long feared, most Republicans are not conservative, and that includes Paul Ryan.

Consider what they just voted for. They funded Planned Parenthood; they did not fund the wall; they funded sanctuary cities. They kept in place protections for refugees and H-2B visas.

They increased non-defense discretionary spending but not in ways that will create jobs. As Fox News reported, they allowed Democrats to kill 160 GOP riders on major environmental regulations.

They also kicked up funding for the Big Pharma friendly National Institutes of Health by $2 billion. Two billion dollars!

There is no excuse for any of this, especially when a government shut down is not catastrophic, as we learned in the last shut down. Only about 18 percent of the government actually grinds to a halt, no essential services are compromised, and furloughed workers get paid in the end.

What baloney.

The real reason Republicans cave is because they don't like the Trump agenda. They are not real conservatives or even liberals; they are crony capitalists, and, ultimately, it's the crony capitalists who would suffer most if Trump's agenda prevails.

Fortunately, the end of Trump's agenda in Congress might not mean the end of Trump's agenda.

It might mean the end of GOP control of Congress after 2018, and it might mean the end of Trump's proposed 2018 budget, but Trump could live to win again another day.

That's because much of his agenda can be pursued through executive authority. That's not ideal, as we have written before, but Trump could undo much of Obama's legacy one order at a time.

Just on Obamacare, he could impose work requirements on Medicaid enrollees, he could slash premium subsidies, he could not enforce the individual mandate, and so on.

Trump could do even more in education. An executive order he signed last week directed his education secretary, Betsy DeVos, to review DOE mandates to see if those regulations and guidance documents comply with federal laws that prohibit the department from exercising any direction, supervision, or control over areas subject to state and local control.

Boy oh boy, she's going to find a wheelbarrow full of mandates that do conflict. Joy Pullman, the managing editor of The Federalist, has identified some that go against federal law by infringing on local control: tests and curriculum mandates, requirements for training and certifying teachers, funding particular curricula and tests such as the national Common Core tests, to name just a few.

Trump's executive order, as it should, directs DeVos to rescind or revise any regulations that are identified as inconsistent with statutory prohibitions.

An executive order that tells the federal government to follow laws already passed by Congress is a good executive order, and to be applauded. And Trump can repeat this exercise in agency after agency, wholly remaking the federal government.

Through executive orders alone, Trump can roll back the administrative state, unleash innovation, liberty, and job creation, and reap the rewards.

Yes, all of these would be exponentially greater if Congress would get in on the act and pull its weight, but the GOP just seems unwilling to do so. So be it. It's time to give up on them.

Trump should follow through with his executive commands, and then let Republicans drown in 2018 if they don't get on board. And he shouldn't try to rescue them by campaigning for them, either.

After all, there are things Trump will be able to possibly achieve with a Democratic Congress in 2019 that he wouldn't achieve with Republicans, such as a plan to spend $1 trillion to rebuild our nation's infrastructure and unleash prosperity in our inner cities.

Don't think urban Democrats won't support that plan, either, just because they hate his attack on the bureaucratic state or his stand on immigration or that it would help the president politically. They will because a) they love pork and this would be pork on steroids, with a tasty dollop of job-creation sauce on top and b) it would make the Gwen Moores of the world unbeatable in primary challenges forever.

In the end, after the GOP Congress completes its self-immolation, a Trump-Democratic coalition just might make America great again. After all, a prosperous inner city will be less enthralled with a big-government welfare matrix, which the GOP establishment is helping sustain.

What's more, urban and suburban unions will love the renewed commitment to fair trade rather than to the multinational corporate (aka free) trade of past Democratic and Republican administrations, and inner city leaders will delight, and even more openly so than they do now, Trump's commitment to school choice, which has helped minority and poor children most of all.

Trump and the Democrats, the working and middle classes and the poor, libertarians and social conservatives alike - all could well win in this make up. The only loser would be the crony capitalist class.

It looks like it's the GOP's choice whether to live or die, but these days they are certainly playing a dangerous game of Russian roulette.





Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, May 8, 2017
Article comment by: Merlin Van Buren

You state the following about school choice, "which has helped minority and poor children most of all." I would love to know what facts you base this on. Reports from the Heritage Foundation? The facts show that school choice does not make a difference for students.. Students do the same in public school or private school. Those are the facts based on research. The latest is research from Stanford University. http://news.stanford.edu/2017/02/28/vouchers-not-improve-student-achievement-stanford-researcher-finds/



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