The Mueller investigation is completed, and we have passed the halfway point of Trump’s first term. It’s time to assess the impact of the full-throated resistance of the Democratic Party on its chief stakeholders: the American people.
Economic growth. Candidate Trump’s goals of improving the financial condition of America’s middle class, while repugnant to some neo-cons, should have resonated with the Democratic Party whose wheelhouse has traditionally been advocating for the working class. Astoundingly, Democratic leaders, apart from Bernie Sanders and some labor leaders, refused to condone Trump’s efforts to retool NAFTA into the U.S. Mexico-Canada Agreement, skewered the very concept of a middle class tax cut, and rebuffed efforts by the administration to lift burdensome regulations from the shoulders of small business owners and farmers. The economic boom has happened despite the Democrats, not because of them. Grade: D-
Illegal immigration. As we passed from one millennium into another, our immigration system was lurching toward collapse. Yet all factions in the Congress refused to face up to the situation as both parties cobbled together an unworkable, unenforceable, and unsustainable spiderweb of guidelines. Neither the Obama nor the Trump administration could possibly oversee such a higgledy-piggledy house of cards. The resultant mixture of humanitarian and economic concerns spans the spectrum: child abuse, illicit drug flow, the spread of gang culture and a free-for-all border. Although both political parties have been reluctant to deal with the issue, the gleeful looks and smirks of Democrats as they consistently backtrack from their prior positions as well as any reasonable discussion, signal their embrace of a disaster which they are only too happy to extend and let fester for political ends. Grade: F
National security and the military. The Democrats used to be the “peace” party. In one of the strangest twists of the past two years, Democrats have joyfully embraced an alliance with neo-con war-hawks. This group seldom finds a war it doesn’t like or a potential ally who can’t be hardened into a foe. A desire to effect regime change is a common theme. As Trump tries to find ways to end strife in the Middle East, the Democrats are reluctant to bring the troops home. As Trump tries to find commonality between the US and China, Russia, and North Korea, the Democrats urge a position of rigid belligerency. The world is dangerous enough without America assuming a consistently pugnacious posture. What saves the Democrats from a failing grade is that they have grudgingly acquiesced to Trump’s expansion of military capabilities. Grade: D
Executive appointments. The executive branch is a massive bureaucracy whose success depends on effective directors. They are appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate; a venerable tradition that rests upon a sense of noblesse oblige and courtesy. Democratic members of Congress have scuttled that concept by dragging out the approval process of hundreds of top and mid-level presidential nominees. They have regularly disparaged and ambushed many nominees in committee hearings and have even encouraged their public harassment. The Kavanaugh hearings will be remembered as one of the low points in the history of American public debate when due process and common decency were jettisoned in favor of character assassination, innuendo, and political posturing. The administration requires a vibrant cadre of leaders to be successful; the Democrats seem determined not to allow President Trump that courtesy. Grade: F
Domestic issues. President Trump has signaled his interest in confronting the challenges posed by four impending crises: infrastructure decay, drug addiction, prison reform, and health care. The Democrats deserve credit for working together with Republicans and President Trump to create a compromise solution to prison reform. But on the other issues, which should be grist for the Democratic mill, they have once again receded into the shadows. Instead of suggesting solutions or bills, they seem happy to point to the White House as the culprit for getting nothing done. Grade: D
It is clear Democrats are unhappy with Donald Trump the man. However, in their detestation of him they have decided to go “missing in action,” for four, perhaps even eight years. The elites can easily cope with long periods of indolence; they are indeed the idle class. But America is a throbbing, living and struggling entity that needs care and attention. Benign neglect can be as harmful as out-and-out malevolence. Democrats need to get off the discredited “Russia Collusion” cheerleading squad and into the game of governance.