Democratic officials across the country are sounding the alarm and vowing to resist newly-sworn in Pres. Donald Trump — particularly in light of Trump’s wobbly first week in office.
“The damage to the credibility of the presidency has already been profound,” said Gov. Jay Inslee to Politico. While some Democrats are wary of taking the same obstructionist tack that Republicans took after the election of Pres. Barack Obama, many of the two dozen officials interviewed by Politico said that they see the Trump administration as a genuine threat to American Democracy and are vowing to oppose it at every turn.
“They were entitled to a grace period, but it was midnight the night of the inauguration to 8 o’clock the next morning, when the administration sent out people to lie about numerous significant things,” said Inslee. “They were entitled to a grace period and they blew it. It’s been worse than I could have imagined, the first few days.”
Candidates for head of the Democratic National Committee met earlier this week and the idea of trying to work with the new president was dismissed out of hand.
“That’s a question that’s absolutely ridiculous,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman Raymond Buckley.
At a summit of wealthy Democratic Party donors in Florida, Media Matters founder David Brock said, “I predict the coming divide in the Democratic Party won’t be ideological so much as it will be between those who resist and oppose and those who accommodate and appease.”
Former White House Chief of Staff and mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel said in a private meeting with other high-ranking officials that the Democratic Party should take a measured approach to opposing Trump’s agenda, picking its fights strategically rather than mounting an all-out obstructionist putsch.
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s chief of staff Ron Klain, however, proposed a “100 Day Fight Club” in which Democrats come out swinging against Trump’s agenda.
“We are very wary that this administration is trying to flood the zone with a whole lot of stuff that is very objectionable all at once, and make it very difficult by creating a cacophony of terribleness so that not one thing gets through. It’s a tactic that they used on the campaign and they were fairly successful at doing so, so in a lot of ways we look at our jobs is focusing in on what we think are the most objectionable things,” said DNC strategist Zac Petkanas.
Stalwart progressives fret that deal-makers and habitual compromisers like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will undermine attempts to face the Republican Party as a unified front. But Klain said that Trump is proving to be reliably extreme and ideological in his opening days as chief executive.
“I haven’t slept a good night since November 8, but the things that don’t keep me up at night are: ‘Will Trump offer up things that Democrats will be tempted to support?,’” he told Politico.
Jessica Mackler, president of opposition research group American Bridge said there has been little evidence that Trump intends to stray into reasonableness.
“Something we see is the question, ‘Is Donald Trump going to propose reasonable policies that people can get behind?’ That doesn’t feel like a problem we’re going to have,” she said. “So far we’ve seen no evidence that this is a choice we’re going to have to make.”
Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy said, “I’m not precluding the possibility” of working with Trump, “but we’re not going to agree to discriminate, we’re not going to agree to make poor people poorer, we’re not going to agree to turn our back on our international obligations.”
Trump, said former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, is so extreme and yet so inconsistent, that Democrats are going to have to stay on their toes.
“We’ve never seen anything like him. This isn’t ideological. He’s taken this to places we’ve never been. He’s said things we’ve never heard from a commander-in-chief,” he said. “So all I can tell you is any game plan you have for Donald Trump should have a fair amount of audibles.”