By Kevin Levy, Associate Editor
Every Democrat’s worst nightmare should look something like this:
It’s June 2018. The GDP has hit a 10-year low. Crime in America’s cities has skyrocketed. The value of the dollar has plummeted as the United States engaged in an ill-advised trade war with China. The already-precarious situation in the Middle East has spiraled out of control with the Islamic State running rampant in Iraq and Syria, establishing new beachheads throughout Western Europe and Northern Africa. President Trump has reneged on virtually all of his campaign promises and the Democrats look to be on target to clench a majority in the House in 2018 with rising stars setting their sights on the Senate and the White House in 2020.
In 2010, then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the top political priority of the Republican Party was to make President Barack Obama a “one-term President.” Senate Republicans successfully staved off President Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, for an unprecedented nine months, claiming that the next President should have the right to nominate the next Associate Justice.
For years, the leaders of the Republican Party had decried to their constituents that government was not working, when, in reality, they were the ones who were breaking it and keeping it from working through their unabashed obstructionism. Many Republican governors across the country opposed the expansion of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare,” into their states as their residents sorely needed the extra help. They decided that winning the next election was more important than fighting to improve the lives of millions of Americans. Their general lack of principle should have been deeply distressing to us.
Perhaps that is why it was so refreshing to see the emergence of Never-Trump Republicans emerge during the course of the Republican primary, and later during the general election, like Ohio Governor John Kasich, the near-entirety of the Bush family, and former Republican House staffer-turned-independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin. Democrats cheered and those Republicans were able to pat themselves on the back for standing up to Donald Trump.
Democrats, myself included, lauded these Republicans because we saw them put their country above their party. Of course, we expected a Hillary Clinton presidency. Now that the roles are reversed and some former Never Trumpers such as former GOP Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney have begun cozying up to Trump, Democrats should be wary of replacing the Republican Party as the ‘Party of No.’
Opponents of Donald Trump should not begin the new year with the mindset of ‘no.’ Sen. Bernie Sanders said that he will work with President-elect Trump, “to the degree that [he] is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country.” If Donald Trump succeeds in making America great again, then surely this will mean that the lives of tens of millions of Americans will improve. Wanting President-elect Trump to fail purely out of partisan motives shows contempt for country as a nation of real people and Democrats should not wish that President-Elect Trump's administration fails before it begins.
Donald Trump won the election, fair and square (discounting major voter suppression efforts by Republican legislators and governors via voter ID laws). Like it or not, the reins of the American government will be handed to Donald Trump on January 20th, 2017. He’ll head down to Washington, possibly part-time, backed by a bicameral Congressional majority that does not seem poised to oppose him on many of his campaign promises.
He has already signaled his shying away from a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act and has similarly softened his stance on the infamous border wall. Democrats should work with a President Trump to achieve their policy goals where they find commonalities and stand staunchly in opposition to his proposed policies that stand squarely against capital-D Democratic values, like voting rights, LGBTQ protections, and abortion rights.
If Donald Trump succeeds, then America succeeds. If he can keep jobs in America through means other than bribing big corporations, then count me in. If he can raise Americans’ wages without abolishing the minimum wage, then I’ll be there with him. If he somehow finds a way to stand against his own Vice President and support LGBTQ Americans, then I’ll support him back. Like Stephen Colbert, I will give Trump a chance, but I won’t give him an inch. Donald J. Trump is #MyPresident, and I hope that he succeeds, not because I’m a Republican (I’m not), but because I’m an American.