Saturday, January 28, 2017

Senate Democrats have the power to stop Trump. All they have to do is use it.

We're inclined to compromise. But if we want to hold this administration accountable, we'll need to play hardball.

By Adam Jentleson January 27 at 1:43 PM, Washington Post

Adam Jentleson, formerly deputy chief of staff to Sen. Harry Reid, is the senior strategic adviser at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

As a Democratic Senate aide for the past seven years, I had a front-row seat to an impressive show of obstruction. Republicans, under then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, decided they would oppose President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at every turn to limit their power. And it worked: They extorted concessions from Democrats with threats of shutdowns, fiscal cliffs and financial chaos. I know firsthand that Democrats’ passion for responsible governance can be exploited by Republicans who are willing to blow past all norms and standards.

Now we have a president who exemplifies that willingness in the extreme. Partly, this explains why he faces more questions about his legitimacy than any president in recent history and why he drew three times as many protesters as inauguration attendees last weekend. But in something of a mismatch, Republicans’ unified control of government means that the most effective tool for popular resistance lies in the Senate — the elite, byzantine institution envisioned by the founders as the saucer that cools the teacup of popular opinion.

Senate Democrats have a powerful tool at their disposal, if they choose to use it, for resisting a president who has no mandate and cannot claim to embody the popular will. That tool lies in the simple but fitting act of withholding consent. An organized effort to do so on the Senate floor can bring the body to its knees and block or severely slow down the agenda of a president who does not represent the majority of Americans.

(More here.)

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