After election, we're going to need to work together (Ted Kaufman)


“I’ve been watching the Democratic presidential candidates debate how to deal with Republicans in Congress next January after one of them defeats Donald Trump.” Without naming names, there seem to be two schools of thought: (A) Republicans have proven that they won’t work with Democrats, so the new Democratic president should “forget trying to appease Republicans and simply demand that Congress pass progressive legislation;” (B) Let’s reach out to them on the assumption that some of them will be willing to work across the aisle after their cult-like leader departs.

Kaufman favors approach (B). Even if the presidential race is a blowout, Dems probably won’t have a big margin in the Senate, nor will they have “the stomach” to abolish the filibuster. And some moderate Democrats may not favor the kind of bills that the “go it alone” Democrats have been proposing. Accordingly, ”there is just no way a new Democratic president will [be able to] accomplish major legislation without some Republican support.”

Best case scenario, Mitch McConnell will be ousted by a Democratic challenger – and that’s a real possibility because he’s become one of the least popular senators in the country (34% of Kentuckians approve of the job he’s doing, while 52% disapprove). The purported problem: “his strategy of literally refusing to consider any legislation passed by the House.”

A new Senate without McConnell would be a healthier place, perhaps even living up to John McCain’s vision of the Senate as a house of cooperation and compromise where important things could be accomplished using regular order. Kaufman expresses his admiration for the late Sen. McCain, even though they had their share of disagreements, and quotes extensively from a McCain column in the Washington Post about the importance of getting back to the traditional way of doing things.

“It wasn’t often I wanted to give John McCain the last word, but in this case I will.”

The real intransigience during the Trump administration has been on the Democratic side. Many of the House bills blocked in the Senate were obvious non-starters. It remains to be seen who will win the 2020 presidential election. Whoever wins, a continuing stalemate on Capitol Hill appears quite possible – regardless of the late Sen. McCain’s views.
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