House of Sand? Democrats make risky bet by pleasing Trump

By David Malcolm

Amongst the many qualities Donald Trump has, consistency is not one of them. What seems like a virtue to many of his supporters is rarely a good thing in practice. Would you work for a boss who changed his mind every ten minutes and made your last project work meaningless every time he did? It’s a tricky question for Republicans and now Democrats to answer.

In stepping over to the left, Trump has displayed the unpredictability that partly helped to get him elected, but it’s leaving his supporters, his party and the opposition in confusion. In rowing back from DACA, many are coming to the realization that most of us already had last year: that the President is a liar and he cannot be trusted. The trust that outlets like Breitbart had in him is crumbling away and this time, nothing will change it. Even if he betrays the Democrats, which he will eventually, I doubt anyone on the right will ever fully trust Trump again.

For the Democrats, it leaves the leadership on a tightrope. They know that their base hates Trump with a passion, viewing him as a racist, a man with no respect for women or minorities. A man with a tenuous grasp on the truth and possibly reality. The longer they work with him, the more likely supporters will rail against it, even if it gets the results the Democrats want. As far as the left is concerned, the Democrats are going to get burnt sooner or later. Trump’s recent Tweetstorm on the recent terror attack in London earned him a rare rebuke from Theresa May, but it simply shows that the man’s behavior will never change.

But Chuck and Nancy aren’t stupid. They’ve seen how the Republicans got treated, how Trump has treated those closest to him. They are probably preparing themselves for the inevitable backstabbing, even welcoming it. They know that Trump is desperate to make progress with his agenda and that he wants to be loved. He’s getting both right now, even getting praise from CNN and he’s lapping it up. They know that if he bails on them, it’ll hurt him in the long run. He’ll have two parties unwilling to work with him,  an administration in chaos and a long wish-list of things he’d like to do but can’t.

In short, as far as Chuck and Nacy are concerned, he needs them more than they need him.

The Democrats are not going to bend to Trump’s will and the loss of support from the far-right might give Trump the sweats. Behind the scenes, John Kelly is working his influence on Trump and it seems to be having an effect, but Donald Trump plays his own rules. Sooner or later, something will give and we’ll be back to square one. The Republicans are seeing forboding signs of losing the midterm elections, either because they failed to get anything done or because they attached themselves to a man who has now cut them loose. If Trump backstabs the Democrats, the Republicans might not be so willing to play along as before and certainly not with Ryan and McConnell in charge.

Unlike their counterparts, the Democrats are well aware of the limitations of working with Trump. They have enough leverage to make December and 2018 for the Republicans difficult and they can rejoice at seeing Trump’s supporters turn against their savior. Sometimes, it’s good to be on the losing side.

But Democrats are walking their own tightrope of perils and the last thing they need is for their own party and base to fracture just as their opposition is doing so. Even if they get their way, some will see working with Trump as a betrayal and the Democrats might find future progress difficult.

Donald Trump will betray the Democrats, even while he sings their praises. It’s what he does (see Jeff Sessions and Sean Spicer as evidence) and he’ll never change. This time though, Trump might find this to be one betrayal too many. The weak, divided and angry party Donald Trump backstabbed before will be less cooperative, especially if they can make common cause with Democrats. In fact, Donald Trump might have done the impossible: united the two parties and made them cooperate on vital issues and problems that face the nation.

Donald Trump is sinking fast into the sand he built his political house on. The Democrats need to be careful not to follow him if they want to get back into power.


I'm a historian based in the UK who likes jumping from one thought to next. I love to learn new things and explore other ideas.

One comment

  1. I’m looking at this and hoping the Dems be cautious about it all. I mean, he’s a backstabber and a half if it gets him ahead half a poll point, and they don’t need to fall back on the patterns that made them complacent before the election (when it was supposedly in the bag and all). No victory dances yet, people, if ever. As soon as somebody’s got a a spring in their step, he’ll yell “Sucker!” and undo everything out of spite.

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