The Democrats' New Strategy Against Donald Trump

In the week-and-a-half since election day, there's been a lot of talk about where Democrats need to go next.

Hillary Clinton's loss to Donald Trump was probably the most crushing defeat in Democratic Party history - and a lot of progressives think that they now need to resist the incoming administration at all costs.

Think of this as the liberal version of the Caucus Room Conspiracy - the plan Republicans hatched the night President Obama was inaugurated in which they pledged to block everything the president wanted to do - even the things that they otherwise would have agreed with - to make him, as Mitch McConnell later affirmed, "a one-term president".

There's a lot to be said for a waging this kind of non-stop insurgency against a President Trump - but it's apparently not what Senate Democrats have in mind for the next four years.

They actually want to cooperate with the President-Elect.

Seriously - I'm not kidding!

As the New York Times reports, "On infrastructure spending, child tax credits, paid maternity leave and dismantling trade agreements, Democrats are looking for ways they can work with Mr. Trump and force Republican leaders to choose between their new president and their small-government, free-market principles."

And that's not all - "Democrats in coming weeks [also] plan to announce populist economic and ethics initiatives they think Mr. Trump might like."

Since Democrats also say they're going to oppose all the awful parts of Trump's agenda like his mass deportation plan and his giant tax cuts for the rich, their call for cooperation is clearly a ploy to call the President-Elect's bluff.

"You say you care about American workers, Mr. Trump? Let's see you put your money where your flapping Orange mouth is!"

Makes sense to me.


Magginkatz's picture
Magginkatz 6 years 28 weeks ago

I wish the Democrats & all the voters who know that Trump did not win would get off their high horses and get to work to convince enough of the electoral college to vote for the person with the most votes to make her president.

I don't want to cooperate with that thieving vermin. In my old age I should not have to sit here and watch another person be sworn in who did not win the majority of the votes. That electoral college should have been dumped at least 50 yrs ago.

bnelson's picture
bnelson 6 years 28 weeks ago

I've never seen bigger sissies than Democrats. It's time to start and build something new. Might as well vote republican given democratic legislators apparent lack of will. Democrats.........way too "nice." Everybody bend over while Paul Ryan rams your future back to the Great Depression.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 6 years 28 weeks ago

Let me go on the record right now stating that I think following in the Republican footsteps after Obama was elected is just as ridiculous as what the Republicans did in the Caucus Room Conspiracy. I couldn't really care less about what the Democrats feel about the loss of Hillary Clinton. That is all on Hillary Clinton and the Dems. Right now we have an opportunity to do something for the people with a President that is not owned by the establishment. Sure, he is a part of the establishment; however, during his campaign he made some really progressive suggestions of how to go forward, rebuilding our infrastructure, repealing free trade, and negotiating with Russia. To attempt to sabotage these worthy ideas - that were also purposed by Senator Bernie Sanders - would be the height of partisan arrogance. As long as both parties keep stonewalling each other, nothing will ever get done; and, a lot needs to get done. I think, instead of raw vindictiveness, it is time to become the example we would like to see in the Republicans. These opportunities to be an example are rare. If we blow it by emulating the worst of examples, we really have nothing to complain about the next time a Democrat sits in the White House and the Republicans repeat history. The chain must be broken; and, we are the link that can make it happen.

Diveswim48's picture
Diveswim48 6 years 28 weeks ago

This strategy as Thom described makes perfect sense to me. Get all you can from Trump's populism, fight the hate tooth and nail, and divide the GOP in the process. Maybe build an expanded Democratic coalition in the process. I'm all in favor. Plus, I cannot stand to think of more years of total, unthinking obstruction in congress. I thought that was a violation of oaths of office when GOP did it, and it would be the same if the Dems did. Let's move forward through any crack we can find.

TruthWarrior's picture
TruthWarrior 6 years 28 weeks ago

I think this is a brilliant strategy. The NYT had a great Op-Ed article today ( ) that drew parallels to the rise and entrenchment of Berlusconi in Italy for 17 years in spite of his incredible inability to govern and blatant corruption. The point of the article was no one will ever see or recognize enormous overreaches and incompetence, or worse, if there is a daily cacophony of complaints and finger pointing. Pick your battles Dems to win the war! I support this 100%!

ginico55's picture
ginico55 6 years 28 weeks ago

I love it, all they have to do is "flatter" Trump and then play him like a piano. What better way to get some of the things for the little guy! This in effect will horrify the Republicans as they will need to come out and very verbally oppose these things! Love it! Go Dems!

cccccttttt 6 years 28 weeks ago

Now that the repubs in congress have chopped up the dem plans for 8 years,

this next 4 years count on the dems to do the same to the repubs.

Then the dems will scream the ideas of the repubs are unworkable and dangerous.

And around we go with niether party getting to implement their plan.

Very ineffective compared to parlimentary democracies.


Bill D's picture
Bill D 6 years 28 weeks ago

Makes perfect sense to me! It should be very interesting to see how he responds if the dems call his bluff on all of his promises!

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 6 years 28 weeks ago

#3 - Hear, hear!

A bit of "common sense" in a world that appears to have lost it somehow!

Ix's picture
Ix 6 years 28 weeks ago

Oh yeah Thom, great strategy...just like the one that put the corporate establishment candidate (AKA HRC) on the ballot rather than the progressive outsider (AKA B Sanders)...the result will be quite the same...great thinkers they are!

Joseph Eusterman MD's picture
Joseph Eusterman MD 6 years 28 weeks ago

MAKES NO SENSE TO ME, Thom. Respectfully. Love you, but this is one of those times when your niceness is fatally flawed, IMO. I can hear those Repugnican sharks snickering. You really think you can outcon the master spinners? You fail to fully appreciate their fascist amoral sociopathy, it seems. Haters, bigots, hypocrites, torturers, assassins. A cancer on the body politic requiring major surgery. Time again to "welcome their hatred". Force all they respect. Not holding my breath for the DP to engage effectively. Problem is, even Soros doesn't have enough $$$ to match their oligarchy. And the election fraud rules out any power the vote used to have. No question the life of the planet even shorter now. Who'd a thought possible? Would like to think that the disaster of the next 4 years could produce a global correction. Hope springs eternal. Hmmm.

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 6 years 28 weeks ago

People said from the start that if Clinton were selected, a Republican would be elected. We spent another eight years trying to point out the problem, without success. The Dem voting base had long consisted of the masses -- poor and middle class, workers and the jobless, for the common good. Bill Clinton split this base wide apart, and the past eight years confirmed that this split is permanent. Dems in Congress kicked off 2015 alone with a definitive statement of their priorities, voting to virtually end food stamps to the elderly poor and the disabled (cut from $115 per month, down to $10). Then they chose the most anti-poor candidate available. Many knew that Trump and Clinton have strikingly similar ideologies. They understood that regardless of which one won the election, masses of us will lose. Those masses didn't vote for Trump, nor did they vote for Clinton.

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 6 years 28 weeks ago

Not sure that the life expectancy of the planet is shorter now. Think about it: The US shut down/shipped out a huge chunk of our jobs since the 1980s, and the country has grown poorer. The longest, most expensive war in this country's history has left the US drained out militarily and economically. The people are deeply divided, pitted against each other by class, race, and ideology. The odds of the US collapsing, coming to an end, are pretty high, and the international community is keenly aware of this. In short, the US has been doing an outstanding job of taking itself out, thereby significantly reducing the chances of a world war in the foreseeable future.

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 6 years 28 weeks ago

That's unrealistic. We just keep on repeating the same thing. Democrats will bring out the old calls for "compromise and cooperation," and once again they'll ensure the passage of more right wing legislation. If people complain, they will whine, "We had no choice! It would have been worse if..."

RepubliCult's picture
RepubliCult 6 years 28 weeks ago

Dems, NOOOOOO! Say it ain't so! Please, Pulleeezzz - What you must do is to 1.) Grow solid titanium spines and don't give in to any Republican hate based or establishment based bill, appointment, or issue, 2) Obama, before you leave office, give the USA + senate your long list of Supreme Court appointees, so the Dems will fillibuster any Trump appointee, the alternative being to confirm someone from Obama's list, be it Merrick or someone else. Hold the court at 8 until then. Obama and Dems, how about making the next few months about confirming your appointee,. Get on all the TV pundit shows, and get your guy confirmed!!! At least build the case for the Dems to fillibuster a Trump nominee until we get a Democrat back in the White House! 3) Beware of the republican's Long Game (aquiring more power) do everything to prevent them from winning these battles which include (a) conservative court appointees, (b) getting a fillibuster proof senate in 2018, (c) getting enough republicans elected in positions where they can call for a Constitutional Convention - that will be the death of America as we and our ancerstors have hoped we would be, 4) get your messaging act together, get on TV every night, and don't let republicans hang or spin any failures on the Dems, 5) always bring a "take no prisoners" attitude to work every day! 6) Bring YOUR OWN infrastructure bill to the house, and fight the wars on TV as to why you won't vote for the Republican's bill. Make sure the people understand the differences between what the Dems propose vs the Republican's.'s picture
Gpinterfirst@ya... 6 years 28 weeks ago

Which means the hell with parties bought by big money, support what is the interest of the 99% of the country and oppose what is the 1% pushing.

KCRuger's picture
KCRuger 6 years 28 weeks ago

I'm no law & order type; in fact I still think our largest problem is the war on drugs, but the law saying you're not allowed to swim across the border is there for a reason. Most of NM's jail population is illegal aliens. You open border gun grabbers are nothing short of insane, and you gave us a republican to hold our nose and vote for.

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 6 years 28 weeks ago

I suspect many here are just starting to understand the effects of the Trump/Republican landslide. All the months of your dividing the population into small groups and attempting to garner their votes by using hate tactics went for naught.

I would think those that who suggest digging in their heels and resist everything President elect Trump proposes have two major issues.

1. Eight years of repeatedly bitching, whining, lecturing, and gnashing of teeth because Republicans went to dinner and didn't work with Obama. Now that the roles are reversed you suggest doing the same? How totally stupid you must feel.

More importantly,

2. You have no majority anywhere so learn the art of ass kissing and not dragging your feet. The latter will only stimulate the shoemakers sector of the economy.

I suggest you are about to be run over before you even know you are on the road.

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 6 years 28 weeks ago


2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 28 weeks ago

Probably wouldn't be a good strategy to expose and constantly talk about what truly happened two weeks ago...that would just be rude. Stuff like Putin, and his KGB, Giuliani, Comey, wiki leaks jerk, interstate cross check, the closure of over 800 voting polls near Democratic precincts, the constant corpse media propaganda...Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, emails, emails, emails, the digital flipping of votes in the swing states, 24/7 coverage of Crooked Donny....talking about all of that isn't really important and would just be in bad form.

That same Crooked Donny just basically decided to plead guilty on the Trump U fraud case and shell out $25 million. My god why would that be big news? We still have really important stuff like Clinton's email scandal, don't we? Wait what happened???? Guys like Chuck Todd suddenly stopped talking about the email scandal two weeks ago. Must be Hillary went to jail??? Of course Chuck spent a few seconds on Trump's felony fraud case today...I think, maybe not. Ahh hell, who cares, that's not news.

One thing I know for certain, Obama's approach , lets give the guy a chance , that approach is why the Teapublic Party has total control now. Glad Obama didn't mention Russian interference, cross check, voter suppression, Comey's crime, etc....that would be so ill-mannered.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 28 weeks ago

Obama's strategy of joining the Teapublic party on TPP probably had nothing to do with the dems election collapse???? ....him pushing hard for it this past problem there.

It probably wouldn't be wise for a Democrat to plainly say..we're not the party of free trade, the Republicans are! ....that sounds too concise, too direct! Not wordy enough for a dem. We don't want citizens to think the party they just put in power is the same party that sent their jobs overseas. Like Skeeter in the rust belt says....I voted for Trump because he represents the party that will bring my jobs back.

TomDorr's picture
TomDorr 6 years 28 weeks ago

There are many things the DEMS can do to help the mainstream, middle class worker.

They should strongly support eliminating DACA and DAPA and work to deport illegals and get them out of the job market.

They should redo the ACA to make it less expensive to middle/upper middle class workers who have very good health care but don't want to pay thru the nose to pay for the over-generous subsidies of others, or to pay for superfluous things like fertility drugs, gender confusion therapy or sex change procedures, late term abortions, etc.

Eliminate funding for sanctuary cities, and use that money for more ICE officers and seportation judges.

Cut ties to Cuba.

Redo trade agreements and create new ones that support American manufacturing and workers.

Provide reliable body cameras for all police officers.

Increase the penalties for resisting arrest and trying to evade arrest.

Increase the earned income tax credit significant, but keep the minimum wage increases at no mkore than inflation.

I think all of these actions could find great bi-partisan support, and help American workers.

k. allen's picture
k. allen 6 years 28 weeks ago

I agree with D'AnneMark (#3):

" ... following in the Republican footsteps after Obama was elected is just as ridiculous as what the Republicans did in the Caucus Room Conspiracy."

"Right now we have an opportunity to do something for the people with a President that is not owned by the establishment. Sure, he is a part of the establishment; however, during his campaign he made some really progressive suggestions of how to go forward, rebuilding our infrastructure, repealing free trade, and negotiating with Russia."

"To attempt to sabotage these worthy ideas - that were also purposed by Senator Bernie Sanders - would be the height of partisan arrogance."

"As long as both parties keep stonewalling each other, nothing will ever get done; and, a lot needs to get done."

"..., instead of raw vindictiveness, it is time to become the example we would like to see in the Republicans."

"These opportunities to be an example are rare. If we blow it by emulating the worst of examples, we really have nothing to complain about the next time a Democrat sits in the White House and the Republicans repeat history."

"The chain must be broken; and, we are the link that can make it happen."
k. allen's picture
k. allen 6 years 28 weeks ago

It is one thing to stand up for what you believe - speak truth to power - to honestly challenge dynamics that offend your values, to represent the needs, and rights of your constituents (the real job of public service.)

That is pro-active.

It is quite another to oppose - across the board, blatant obstruction - "even the things that they otherwise would have agreed with" just to undermine their opponent's success and effectiveness, regardless of cost or consequence to others.

That is a low bar - no Happy Hour.

And yes, it comes from all quarters ... amazing! Human integrity is far from guaranteed!! Maybe that's why we go through these cycles of change - a testing of sorts ... with today's outcomes, we have more proof of institutional inequities, and more incentives to do something about them.

I want to see creative imagination and responsible innovation on all sides of all the aisles ... it seems more possible with conscientious people challenging the static quo, regardless of political affiliation ... it could happen ... only, less likely if we can't get past the petty back stabbing and personal insults we have seen so far ... not to mention the fundamental lack of respect for human worth in others whose views differ from our own ( as if wee people think with one mind.)

People survive such overwhelming challenges. We may be 'about to get run over before we know we're in the road.' Still, I see no need for a$$ki$$ing. You don't have to demean yourself, just because others do.

Of course, the incoming admin endorses extreme rendition so, choice in the free world could whittle down to a sliver:

Live or die ... truth or lie ...?

Truly, this is a defining moment.

Once again (as always) what we project will influence our experience as the universe gives back what we give to it, and so much more ...

I ask that appetites fueling heartless contention, hatred, deceit, murder, rape - in short, a degradation nation - will subside, as truth, love, and respect for life win the day.

I ask for humility to know nobody knows it all, and sensitivity to perceive what others feel, to respond in ways that open minds and hearts ... so we can heal.

It might help to recognize that life is a blessing (however mixed) - not a property to be possessed and controlled, bought or sold ... a gift to be embraced, and appreciated, with awareness, and gratitude - as it comes and goes - one breath at a time ... let's not throw it away.

..., or blow it away ....

spideymarc 6 years 28 weeks ago

A President like the new one will want some legislative accomplishments. But here we have an obstructionist right-wing in control of Congress. Dems working as a minority with Trump wont accomplish anything more than Dems trying to do so with Obama. The direction in which Trump goes on climate change and other key issues will determine how much room there is to work with Dems, but all early indications are that Trump has no intention to move policies in a direction that would garner broad support. If this continues we will witness one of the most divisive and difficult periods ever in American politics, and Trump's will certainly be a failed Presidency.

That's not to say that it isn't good media strategy for Dems to continue to press to indtroduce measures supported by Trump in his campaign. Its going to be critical to get some bills or other focued issues in front of people to show that Trump can't and won't be able to do what he said (since, at the core, he came in as a Republican with Republican money behind his campaign) or otherwise be a champion of the little guy. The ability to inform and focus people on the complete billionaire control of GOP is so important.

Let's face it (as discussed by yours truly in a separate post pending review today), its the billionaires, especially Hedge Fund money, who will control GOP's congressional agenda and caucus, and those interests are dead set against any popular reforms.

When Trump speaks out against the influence of the API, or Robert Mercer and Paul Singer, within the GOP, that will be the moment progressive Dems will have an opportunity to work with him. Its important to note the neffarious character of some of the big players in the Hedge Fund industry and its domination of the financial services industry and GOP politics. Someone like Mercer backed Cruz and is on the far right side of the GOP. And the big picture of the GOP is of a party fairly dominated by people like these, now that any pretention at placing the religious right's agenda first is pretty much over. Since this is alternative media, we are allowed to suspend the belief that Republicans are decision makers who control their own agenda and aren't just shills of some of the most potent economic forces on the planet.

The issue Thom raises is an important and difficult one for Dems. Do the Dems want to accomplish an infrastructure bill under circumstances where it means they lose some political ground on climate change, school shootings and gun regulation, discrimination, etc. etc. etc....

Why doesn't Obama and every powerful Dem go on record NOW saying that they want to work on x but only if Trump disavows KKK, etc etc etc. ? It just doesnt seem plausible that any true majority party should give up such important core values just to get an infrastructure bill done. Thanks to Bernie we have a good head start at articulating core values to the electorate, and this has to continue to be a focus.

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