Right On: Trump, a party of 1

In this file photo, President Donald Trump gestures in the Rose Garden of the White House, Washington, D.C., May 4, 2017 | AP Photo/Evan Vucci, St. George News

OPINION — Never has a president spent so much time publicly alienating members of Congress from his own party. Never has a president spent so much time publicly humiliating members of his own cabinet.

This is the antithesis of team building. How does he expect to get anything accomplished?

Trump is a populist epitomized by his campaign promise to “drain the swamp.” His outsider’s message resonated with erstwhile Obama voters who blamed both immigrants and international trade for declining factory jobs and stagnant wages.

His promises to roll back excessive regulation, nominate conservative judges, and repeal and replace Obamacare appealed to mainstream Republicans.

As a traditional conservative, I acknowledge that Trump is making good on two of these promises.

First, the Trump administration is overturning a variety of Obama-era, over-the-top regulations. Many of these regulations were based on tortured interpretations of obscure provisions in the law. And when existing legislation didn’t provide regulatory cover, the Obama administration invented a rationale out of whole cloth.

Second, Trump is making significant progress in restoring the judiciary to its constitutional role. Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the Supreme Court was the showpiece, but dozens of nominees to the federal bench have either been approved or are waiting for Democratic stall tactics to run out of gas.

But to accomplish the rest of his agenda, Trump needs the very people he’s mistreating on an almost daily basis.

Republicans have a slim 52-48 Senate majority. Facing a unified Democratic “resistance,” Trump puts every key vote in jeopardy by picking public fights with Senate Republicans. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker and others have all come under fire.

Further, Trump’s mercurial inconsistency drives both his supporters and his opponents crazy.

Trump called Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer to find common ground on health care but then torpedoed any prospect by announcing rollbacks of Obamacare mandates.

He expressed support for a bipartisan proposal to appropriate funds to offset the losses insurance companies face when issuing Obamacare policies. The next day he changed his mind, making additional demands.

He discussed legislation to protect the so-called “dreamers” with Democrats Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who thought they had a deal. The following day, Trump denied it and now insists on funding his border wall and increasing enforcement as part of any deal.

Trump continues to consult Steve Bannon, whose announced goal is to blow up the existing Republican Senate leadership by running far-right challengers in next year’s primaries. If Bannon is only modestly successful pushing forward unelectable candidates, Trump will be dealing with Senate majority leader Schumer in 2019. And this when eight Democratic senators are up for reelection in states Trump carried by comfortable margins.

Trump’s approach to the presidency is self-defeating. He is failing to provide a consistent, coherent vision for the country and failing to rally those who would support elements of that vision.

Die-hard Trump fans love his incessant tweets, but he often makes outrageous claims that are easily shown to be false. Like the shepherd boy who cried wolf, why does he continue to damage his credibility?

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Peggy Noonan sees the possibility of Trump following Sarah Palin’s trajectory. Noonan says Palin “lost her place through antic statements, intellectual thinness and general strangeness. The same may well happen — or be happening — with Donald Trump.”

As a traditional conservative, I did not vote for Trump or Hillary Clinton but I was pleased with Trump’s surprise victory if only to avoid four more years of the Democrats’ relentless leftward march.

I hoped that the weight of the presidency would restrain Trump’s impulsiveness and focus him on the weighty matters facing the country. It has not.

The time has come to express my disappointment. I fear we will have three more years of Trump exchanging angry tweets with Republicans, television celebrities and football players. This is not how a president leads.

A vision for the country’s future can’t be communicated in 140 characters.

Even more, I fear Democratic majorities in Congress as a result of Trump’s idiosyncrasies at a time when Republicans should have every opportunity to flourish. Trump supporters who do not recognize this possibility have their heads in the sand.

After alienating both the Republican and Democratic parties, Trump is becoming an isolated party of one.

I hope I’m wrong.

Howard Sierer is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: hsierer@stgeorgeutah.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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21 Comments

  • Mike October 26, 2017 at 7:50 am

    Well you are wrong!

  • statusquo October 26, 2017 at 8:32 am

    The swamp continues to fester with no drain in sight. Politics has filled the swamp and certainly won’t drain it. We’re screwed!

  • DRT October 26, 2017 at 8:51 am

    I too, hope you are wrong, as usual. Unfortunately, I’m afraid you are right, this time.
    We were given such a rotten choice in this last election, that disaster was bound to happen, no matter which one of these two became president. The party leaders of both parties need to be removed. They are a waste of oxygen.

  • John October 26, 2017 at 9:09 am

    You wish Howie!! The swamp is getting drained..hahaha!

  • Sapphire October 26, 2017 at 9:41 am

    Trump is a businessman not a politician. His impulsiveness reminds me of people who have ADD. I believe he meant well, but he has to deal with the swamp which protects its status quo. The Democrats want their power back and will refuse to do anything positive under his administration. The Republicans had many contenders for President and they all ran under the premise that Social Security and Medicare needed to be eliminated by privatizing them, as if many disabled and seniors had any ability, as they aged, to make those kind of complicated decisions. They wanted everyone off the government dole and to lighten the tax load for corporations and the wealthy. They wanted to get rid of Obamacare and go back to the situation that caused it in the first place – the wealthy and those who were lucky enough to have health care from their companies and also the poor who qualified for Medicaid which left out all the rest of the middle class who couldn’t afford enormous premiums with poor coverage. Our Congress isn’t smart enough to figure out how to solve problems, they are all bluster and no substance, and their loyalties are not with the American people but with their party and those who pay to get them elected. There is nothing Trump can do to force these mules to budge and his impulsive behavior shows his frustration.

    • DRT October 26, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      Their only loyalties are to themselves.

    • DB October 27, 2017 at 4:14 pm

      Trump? ADD? I wouldn’t doubt it. I’ll add a couple radio talk show hosts to that list who every day, can’t finish a complete sentence, let alone a thought. I’m a Conservative, by the way, so it pains me to say that.

  • mctrialsguy October 26, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    He is the best thing to a President as we have had in many years. He means well for the country and is stirring up the dirty mud and removing the corruption. Things will settle down, but never will according to hateful liberals as they need their political and vote grabbing machine to continue. The stock market and the economy is better than it has been in 50 years. You may only listen to your own sources, but the truth will set you free.

  • NickDanger October 26, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    This article reflects what many conservatives are saying – that Trump needs the backing of the party mainstays to accomplish his agenda. It makes perfect sense, and something that makes perfect sense is what I expect conservatives to say.

    But I believe Trump’s “mercurial inconsistency” is his strong point. Every U.S. President I can recall – and I recall every one quite clearly since LBJ – has been primarily concerned with two things: his approval rating, and his legacy. Trump is concerned about neither. He dumped the mainstream media before their first date.

    I will say the same thing about these congressional tail-draggers that I say about “oppressed minorities” – instead of endlessly complaining about what the ruling faction (in this case President Trump) is doing, pick up YOUR game, get on-board with the winning team, and stop whining. There’s a reason you, Mister Senator or Congressman, are not President. You’ve thought about it. You’ve tested the waters. Maybe you’ve even made a solid run at it. But there you sit, still in Congress and NOT in the White House.

    Trump is President. He knows what he wants to do, I know what he wants to do, you know what he wants to do, Mexico knows what he wants to do, Russia and China know what he wants to do, and the American people elected him so that he can DO IT.

    So instead of calling on Trump to be more submissive to the will of Congress, I am calling on Congress to be more submissive to the will of President Trump. The will of the people has been expressed, and the will of the people is, let this incredible, mercurial, abrasive, obnoxious, egotistical giant of a human being inflict his agenda on the world, because whatever results may come, anything is better than politics as usual.

    • Badshitzoo October 26, 2017 at 7:56 pm

      Well Nick, you obviously drank the kool aid and bought into Trump hook, line and sinker. You hear what you want to hear, see what you want to see, and believe what you want to believe. One only need to listen to the words coming out of Trumps mouth to know what a FSB-POS he is, period! That’s it. He’s not a “President” of anything. He is the worst of “Us” not just the worst of America, but the worst of Mankind. If you’ve got a kid in the military? I would suggest you get him out asap, because Trump is just itching to light up North Korea, and who knows how many of our guys won’t come home when it’s over? There’s a 5X draft dodging punk with his little fingers all over the “go nuclear” button, and he’s dying to show the world how bad he is.

      • John October 26, 2017 at 8:55 pm

        Nick didn’t drink the kool-aid..you did.. The SWAMP IS GETTING DRAINED !!!!Liberals are Imploding everywhere, the democrat party is a circus of clowns and Trump is in The White house till 2024..Hope you got plenty of coloring books because you leftists do not have anything to look forward to..Just because you don’t like the fact he’s not a weak indecisive , incompetent leader like the last one was..too bad.. It’s going to be a long time before you can do anything about it… .Waaah Waaah waah!

  • Whatteverrr October 27, 2017 at 2:46 am

    If the GOPS can not win by playing by the rules, they just change the rules. Trump is worse than a ticking time bomb. He’s the mother of all bombs absolutely desecrating this entire country. Remember that Lil’ doozy? Remember when he referenced the size of his penis at beginning of rep debate? Remember when he called reporters pretending to be his PR person to get in the mags? Or the fake TIME cover? He is the king of FAKE NEWS. you all are being played by the biggest con man with serious PERSONALITY DISORDERS and Putin sitting back and smirking at this disaster he created.

    • John October 27, 2017 at 10:03 am

      Whatteverrr , you shouldn’t comment after you have had so much to drink! Your pickled thoughts leak out. There is more fake news in your one post than there is in the whole rest of this thread. It’s really funny how you democrats always try to accuse opponents of what you yourselves are guilty of, without seeing that you are being played by the media. Keep up the good work, keep chasing the MSM carrot and Trump will win easily in 2020. The Democratic party is a mental health crisis, liberals are imploding from anger and , well, your life has no meaning. I’m sure you will be one of the ones out there on the anniversary of election night (Nov 8) screaming at the sky…Have fun..Happy Losing !!

      • Whatteverrr October 28, 2017 at 8:34 am

        …. Says the guy who revisits the same thread time and again, day after day, trolling any comments that differ from his own dimented theories. All I did was state facts. All you did was spew hate. And don’t you get that by attacking me personally, when you know nothing… Simply deligitimizes anything you have to say?
        PREACH! AND IMPEACH!

        • John October 28, 2017 at 9:43 am

          hey I’m just saying that drunken liberals shouldn’t comment in the middle of the night, you just make yourself look stupid when you do that, and you should actually fact check…might give you a semblance of credibility..Just sayin’

          • Whatteverrr October 28, 2017 at 10:39 am

            Again. Not middle of night. My morning. Again, shows how much you don’t know!

        • John October 28, 2017 at 9:00 pm

          more denial from the liberal… your first post was Whatteverrr October 27, 2017 at 2:46 am Reply…that’s THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT KNOW IT ALL….shows how much you know libtard

  • dodgers October 27, 2017 at 5:16 am

    Did anybody think that draining the swamp would be pretty? Many have been fighting the purge tooth and nail; but some are giving up, Thank God. Good riddance Corker & Flake; may McCain and others follow their lead. As for the rest of the GOP establishment, they don’t want any change. They’ve purposely failed on many campaign promises with repealing Obamacare at the forefront. And now many of them even want to prop it up by increasing bailouts, giving taxpayer money to the insurance companies. President Trump has a backbone, a big reason why he stands out so glaringly compared to the GOP establishment. And he has a get-it-done-now attitude, compared to the let’s-do-tomorrow mantra of the GOP leadership. Clearly, they are trying to run out the clock. As for being a party of 1? Instead, he has many millions behind him, all recognizing that the establishment requires a big kick in the behind and some public humiliation if there is to be any opportunity to correct course in Washington.

  • commonsense October 27, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Trump is above partisan politics. Perhaps this slows the legislative agenda but this kind or integrity is rare in politics. The Dems vote as a block, not because they agree on principle but because they agree on expediency, power and control. Trump’s one thread of consistency is that he believes in America and what is best for Americans. He puts people ahead of partisan politics. He is really not a conservative or even a Republican. He’s a populist.

    The working, productive part of America is nuts about Trump, not his style but his substance, not his twitter but his production not his bluster but his concern of us.

  • John October 28, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    more denial from the liberal… your first post was Whatteverrr October 27, 2017 at 2:46 am Reply…that’s THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT KNOW IT ALL….shows how much you know libtard

  • bikeandfish October 28, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    “Party of 1” = authoritarian.

    Moat presidents have expanded the Power of the Executive but Trump’s open hostility to a free press, contempt for the judiciary, and the Congress should give pause to anyone concerned about Constitutional integrity.

    I agree with Howard on much of this essay. By electing a “populist”, primarily in campaign rhetoric, the RNC eroded at much of its conservative foundation. Trump’s populism will be the new norm if conservatives don’t stand up against him. I use “populism” because Trump’s policy, the limited quantity we have seen, is actually a bitter form of nationalism that uses the sentiments of a populist base of both parties. That is why we are seeing a rise in white nationalist and supremacist, ie see the comfort in Nickdanger’s dangerous ideology.

    The crossroads will be if the Democrats and Republicans can manage to truly provide space for the current populist sentiment while deflecting the worst and most dangerous aspects of Trump’s political brand. If they can’t then Trump has the power to continue his haphazard presidency. I fear both parties are too disheveled and power hungry to realign in a productive way to set our federal government back on course. Until then we are stuck with a fringe that has no problem dragging the country down with their whims.

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