January 20, 2017 marked the day Republican President Donald J. Trump was sworn into office.
While it’s true that many never fully envisioned this day coming, as could be seen in the shock that swept college campuses across the nation, Democrats and Republicans alike must now work together toward serious policy changes involving healthcare, the national debt, and many other issues.
However, ever since the unexpected turn of events in November’s general election, it seems both parties are not fully committed to finding middle ground. In fact, I would venture to say that neither has compromise on their mind.
Following their surprise defeat, Democrats looking to regain control of Congress as well as the White House within the next four years are left to decide the best direction for their party going forward. Currently the DNC Chairmanship is being debated, offering an insight into the options currently in front of the Democrats. Broadly speaking, the choice lies between either moving toward more moderate positions to draw in more swing voters, or veering left toward a Tea Party-esque liberal wing of the Democratic party. Thus far, the latter option appears to be the road taken.
One does not have to look any further than the obstructionist tactics of the Senate Democrats in Cabinet confirmations, increased liberal activism, and the names rising to the top of 2020 Presidential prospects to see this shift within the party.
Historically, a President is given great lenience in appointing people to the Cabinet. This is not currently the case, however. President Trump’s nominees are facing opposition from Democratic Senators the entire way, resulting in the GOP’s needing to take extreme measures to keep the Cabinet-approval process moving forward. In recent days, Democrats in the Senate have been refusing to perform their elected duties and have boycotted votes that would have filled the crucial positions of Secretary of the Treasury, Director of the EPA, and Secretary of Health and Human Services. The GOP was forced to suspend rules requiring the minority party to be present during voting to prevent a complete standstill. It is this obstructionism seen in Senate committees, as well as in full floor voting, that provides little hope for compromise or a positive working relationship toward common goals in the years to come.
It would be easy to attribute such tactics to the personal convictions of senators; however, one can see the increased pressure that liberal activism is placing on legislators. From the Women’s March to protests over the immigration ban in cities and airports, public outcry has been plentiful. Add in the thousands of constituent contacts that have been fostered by the left, and it is not hard to see why there is great reluctance by senators to push forth with the current nominees and agenda.
In the demonstrations we have seen, the voices rising to the top are those with the most extreme views, including Madonna’s talking about blowing up the Trump White House. The longevity of this fervor may be questioned, but there is no doubt it is playing a transformative role in the shaping of the future Democratic Party.
One of the best ways to see which direction a party is headed is to look at the figureheads they have. Given Hillary Clinton’s defeat, a new batch of leaders is rising up and positioning themselves to lead the party in the 2020 Presidential election. The records and reputations of the names tossed around to challenge President Trump provide an eye-opening view into the movement of many Democrats toward more extreme, liberal views. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, former Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York are currently the top names thought to be contending for the 2020 nomination. From their voting thus far, the three Senators are among the most combative toward the GOP agenda, and O’Malley refuses even to engage with Trump and his supporters.
No matter one’s politics, the trend of the Democratic Party’s movement away from the working class towards the extreme left should be worrying for the nation as a whole. It only weakens the possibility of compromise between the two parties, ultimately hurting American citizens who simply want to be able to provide for their families, uncaring of the partisan rancor spewing out of both sides. When it comes to positioning themselves to win back the White House, Democrats are taking a risk in moving left by alienating moderates – a risk that no one knows will pay off.