On Tuesday evening, Democrats proved that they’re no longer “progressives” or even the loyal opposition. They’re merely one thing: the anti-Trump party. That truth has been on partial display since the election — they’ve spent over a year interminably complaining about phantom Trump-Russia collusion, suggesting nefarious doings that “stole the election,” and labeling every Republican they can find a racist, sexist, bigoted homophobe. But for a little while, at least, they attempted to provide a patina of legitimacy to the notion that they simply wanted to find common ground with the Trump administration, at least on issues like immigration and infrastructure.
Then came President Trump’s first official State of the Union address.
Now, Republicans were anti-Obama, certainly. But they didn’t sit through his State of the Union addresses. They cheered when they agreed, and they sat when they disagreed.
But Democrats just sat.
They didn’t just sit, actually. They grimaced. They groaned. They booed and hissed. And it wasn’t just that they disapproved of Trump on policy. It’s that they refused to stand for things they supposedly believe in because they hate Trump so much. Paid family leave? They sat. Infrastructure spending? They sat. Amnesty for 1.8 million illegal immigrants? They sat.
And then they sat some more. They sat when Trump touted the American flag. They sat when Trump touted American freedom. They sat when Trump touted low black unemployment rates. They sat when Trump cheered American opportunity.
They sat because the Democratic Party has become a party focused on one figure and one figure only: Donald Trump. That’s a high-risk, high-reward strategy. It’s high-risk because it assumes that the American people despise Trump as much as they do — and last night, the polls didn’t show it. Americans liked Trump’s speech. They thought Trump was channeling something unifying. They saw Trump as a man trying to get things done, and cheerleading for other Americans. Democrats sat through all of that because they believe that Americans hate Trump the way they do — that Americans hate Trump more than they love what makes America excellent.
Because Democrats despise Trump so much, the chances of any sort of bipartisan deal are dead. On virtually everything. And that’s great news for Trump and conservatives, since Trump can now make virtually any concession to make himself look moderate, knowing Democrats will turn it down; meanwhile, conservatives don’t have to worry about Trump cutting a bad deal, because Democrats have no intention of cutting any deal.
Trump’s best hope in 2020 is simply this: a Democratic Party motivated more by hatred of Donald Trump than the best interests of the American people.