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A Resolution for 2017: Keep Reminding Trump That He Has No Mandate

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message John Nichols       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   4 comments

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From The Nation

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Republicans opposed Obama and a Democratic Congress that had broad support. Democrats must now oppose Trump and a Republican Congress that lacks it.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump
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When Paul Ryan and top congressional Republicans gathered on the evening of January 20, 2009, to plot a strategy of absolute and unrelenting opposition to Barack Obama presidency, and to the House and Senate Democrats who had received a mandate from the American people to work with the enormously popular president-elect, California Congressman Kevin McCarthy told the group: "If you act like you're the minority, you're going to stay in the minority. We've gotta challenge them on every single bill and challenge them on every single campaign."

That determination to resist the Obama agenda offended Democrats and thrilled Republicans. But, at the most fundamental level, it was nothing more than Politics 101. An opposition party exists to oppose the party in power. Ryan and his fellow partisans understood this in 2009.

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Yet, now, Ryan and the Republicans are whining about the failure of Democrats to play the role of a "loyal opposition" that willingly compromises and cooperates with President-elect Donald Trump and the wrecking crew the incoming administration has assembled to destroy essential programs -- beginning with Medicaid -- while redistributing wealth to the billionaire class that is its core constituency.

The Speaker of the House claims Trump "earned a mandate" for a "go big, go bold" agenda, while Trump "counselor" Kellyanne Conway is not just claiming a mandate but griping that critics of the billionaire are "attempting to foment a permanent opposition that is corrosive to our constitutional democracy."

"The left is trying to delegitimize his election," grumbles Conway. "They're trying to deny him what he just earned."

Ryan and Conway should brush up on their math. Trump earned 2.9 million fewer votes than his Democratic rival. The Republican earned just 46.1 percent of the popular vote. Only a narrow Electoral College advantage made his president-elect.

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