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Can Chuck Schumer be a Wartime Consigliere?

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Here’s another random event that could substantially alter the course of American history:

Reid appears significantly older than his 77 years. A horrible exercise accident on New Year’s Day in 2015 — when an elastic band he was using in his suburban Las Vegas home snapped and he tumbled into some cabinets — broke bones in his face, as well as his ribs, and left him blind in one eye. It was his declining physical condition that ultimately led him to decide not to seek reelection in 2016.

Sorry, that should be “exercise accident.” The lamestream media will never get to the bottom of the conspiracy very plausibly identified by Time magazine’s erstwhile Blog of the Year.

At any rate, it’s very possible that had Reid not been injured we would have a Senate minority leader who is 1)exceptionally good at his job, 2)would understand the necessity of a laser-focus on keeping Trump as unpopular as possible, and 3)would understand that this is accomplished by not collaborating with him. The one we’re getting instead? Well:

But the job that Reid had in mind for Schumer when he anointed him as his successor isn’t the one Schumer will actually be doing. “Schumer would be a very good majority leader under President Hillary Clinton, and that’s what he thought he was signing up for,” says one prominent Democratic strategist, noting how aggressively Schumer waded into several Democratic Senate primaries in 2016. “He made the calculation that he wanted to win the Senate with people who were easily tamable and then he could be a majority leader like LBJ, just ramming things through.” As a minority leader with a Republican in the White House, however, Schumer will have a very different task — and there’s concern among some Democrats that he might not be cut out for it. “Chuck will go to the ramparts on an issue when it’s polling at 60 percent, but as soon as it gets hairy, he’s gone,” says one senior Democratic Senate aide. “Chuck wants issues to have no negatives, but it’s the Trump era. He’s looking at polls ­showing 60 percent for the Carrier deal” — in which Trump persuaded the company to keep a furnace plant in the U.S. in exchange for $7 million in tax breaks — “and thinking to himself, Maybe we should support that.”

Indeed, in the days immediately after Trump’s victory, Schumer sought common ground with the president-elect. Other Senate Democrats soon followed suit. Even Elizabeth Warren, who had spent the presidential campaign taunting Trump, pledged to work with him on increasing economic security for the middle class. Much of this was, presumably, typical morning-after posturing, but Reid was nonetheless alarmed. Three days after the election, he released a statement branding Trump “a sexual predator who lost the popular vote and fueled his campaign with bigotry and hate.”

It’s not inevitable that Schumer will screw this up — the fact that he’s Reid’s protege hopefully will mean that Reid retains some influence. Democrats have no choice but to assume that Schumer is persuadable and act as hard as they can to persuade. But I can’t say I’m very optimistic either. We could well end up looking back as Reid’s exercise accident as the flap of the butterfly wings that gave us a second term of Donald Trump (and, hence, a near-total evisceration of the welfare state, decades of a median Supreme Court vote that would have to turn to the left to see Antonin Scalia, soaring economic and racial inequality, escalating environmental catastrophe, etc. etc.) in 2021.

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