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Is Total Obstruction Irrespective of the Merits the Only Way to Beat Trump?


It is possible that Trump could be be reelected? Absolutely! But while we shouldn’t be complacent about the chance of Trump winning again, nor should we lose sight of the fact that Trump remains steadfastly unpopular despite a very favorable economic context:

Should “Dems Are Blowing It irrespective of any poll or election result” be an amendment to Murc’s Law or a law unto itself?

On the somewhat related question, on the debate about whether House Dems should have told unions to piss up a rope to prevent Trump from attracting the potential voters (if any) who wouldn’t be persuaded to vote for Trump just because he made a new trade deal but would be persuaded if House Dems voted for it I think some people have taken the wrong lesson from the effects of Mitch McConnell’s total obstructionism, which is sometimes cited to defend to proposition that Dems should literally never make a deal with Trump, even the very rare one that core constituencies see as being in their interests because Trump was taken to the cleaners during negotiations. The one really obvious problem with this is that, er, Obama won. Won pretty easily, in fact. One by what he should gave been expected to win by no matter what McConnell did. If McConnell has discovered the secret sauce for defeating an incumbent president it’s strange that the incumbent president wasn’t defeated.

What McConnell did demonstrate is that obstructionism generally carries no political costs to the obstructed. The Noble Lie that constituents expected legislators to do stuff and would punish them is been pretty conclusively shown to be false. So I do agree 100% that House Dems should not have made a deal just for the sake of making a deal so they could be seen as Doing Something, which I think was a reasonable fear. But nor do I see any reason to believe that making one particular deal on favorable terms will materially increase Trump’s chances for reelection. As a default assumption, “this won’t move the needle” is going to be right far, far more often than it’s wrong either way. If House Dems think it’s a good deal they should vote for it.

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