Turnabout is fair play, as they say. Feeling rightly betrayed by the GOP leadership and the Freedom caucus set, Trump, master pragmatist, comeback kid and re-inventer of himself, has begun to pivot left.
Trump came into office with a particular populist-nationalist agenda, with bits and pieces for everyone. The Republicans, having stabbed him in the back time and again, have proved themselves to be the take-a-dive, paid for fake opposition that conservatives always knew them to be. Either way, they’re largely useless to Trump, pawns of forces he can’t beat back or bring over.
What about the Democrats? They used to be the party of the little guy, unions, full employment, a good wage, and public purpose for too big to fail institutions. They have fallen into irrelevance outside the coastal cities since they began dancing to the tune of the donor class. With this rough outline of a deal on DACA out, Trump is 2 for 2 in working with Schumer and Pelosi in ways that do no real harm to his popularity, and help the Democrats.
Will they, like the GOP, obstruct, backstab, and bait and switch Trump, or will they follow through here and continue helping him get things done on the left side of his agenda, and in so doing boost their political street cred with the public. (Infrastructure, middle class tax cuts, maybe even tax hikes for the highest earners, fixing healthcare…?)
Trump isn’t a man with party loyalty. He values reliability. and competence in those he works with. Most of the Democrats are without principle, and, having the market cornered on mainstream media adoration, have more freedom of action than Republicans. It would be a hard U-turn indeed for the MSM and deep state to become anti Democrat overnight and champions of the beleaguered GOP establishment. This gives Trump a window to work with the Democrats where there is common ground, and gives them a built-in ability to act pragmatically in ways the GOP fakers can’t.
The Ryan-McConnell-McCain-Graham types’ strings are tightly held, and are determined to block Trump from reshaping the party. On the other end of the spectrum of characters, Freedom LARPers like Rand Paul introduce dummy bills no one will ever pass or even vote on to bolster their ideological brand. The party is useless outside of Trump, and will never be a part of any solution to the governance gridlock facing the American state. So where does Trump have to go but left?
Problem: the Democrats are also beholden to Wall Street and the donor class, perhaps even more so than Republicans, in recent cycles. Can they bite the hand that feeds them, recognize the era of donor control ended with the celebrity billionaire Trump’s victory? Oprah is more likely to be the next president than Terry McCaullife or some other Clinton crime family alumni, so who needs hedge fund money? It did Hillary no good.
Who’s to say the DNC can’t stack its current chips (MSM immunity, ethnic and gender minority loyalty), dump Wall Street, win back the working class, and become again the party of Roosevelt and Kennedy? Stranger shifts have happened, and sharp minds in the DNC may be pondering this very thing.
The Democrats’ key stumbling block with Trump has been his immigration policy. Is Trump so dug in on immigration that he won’t ditch his wall (largely symbolic and rhetorical anyway; it can be torn down or left unprotected as easily as its put up) to win over Democrats on those other key issues? It appears possible. Will he be able to get tougher things done with Democrats after building good will? Student debt reform, anyone?
Is Trump about to make an end run around the dopey donors and oligarchs by pivoting left, leaving them only the spent GOP carcass, sans Trump, to chafe at a congressional rout in 2018?
The GOP has refused to be reformed by Trump. The Democrats need some wins of their own to rebuild brand with the grassroots left. Fixing O-care, en route to a single payer system? Infrastructure? Reforming the silly budget/austerity annual hysterics that hamstring congressional action every year? Tax reform, reining in Wall Street crooks, Silicon Valley monopolists. Better trade deals, re-industrializing America along a more European model… It’s a winning formula, if risky.
Will the Dems let up on the neocon courting, nullify that shotgun wedding, and allow a natural peace to emerge with Russia? Russia isn’t going anywhere, and it’s a losing narrative. If they do have a lot of pull on the American electorate through sophisticated alternative media infiltration, as is claimed, it’s stupid for the Dems to fight that bear and get mauled.
Changes coming? GOP death back on schedule? If so, they surely earned it.