Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer is sounding a note of reconciliation with Republicans in 2017, saying there are areas of common interest with Donald Trump. Outside those common interests, not much will happen.
Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press with Chuck Todd,” Schumer said Democrats will not unilaterally oppose legislation Trump sponsors. But neither will Democrats compromise “for the sake of working with him,” Schumer said.
“Surprisingly, on certain issues, candidate Trump voiced very progressive and populist opinions,” Schumer said. “For instance, getting rid of the carried interest loophole, changing our trade laws dramatically, a large infrastructure bill.”
“I hope on the promises he's made to blue collar America on trade, on carried interest, on infrastructure, that he'll stick with them and work with us, even if it means breaking with the Republicans who have always opposed these things,” he said.
But Schumer said Democrats will fight to protect legislation President Barack Obama signed but that Trump has said he wants to dismantle.
“We're not going to repeal or help him repeal Obamacare,” Schumer said. “We are not going to roll back Dodd-Frank,” the 2010 law that imposed financial regulations on Wall Street after the 2008-09 crisis.
“We're not going to help him build his wall,” Schumer said of the president-elect's proposed border wall with Mexico. “We have a comprehensive immigration reform bill that builds in much tougher border security and it had bipartisan support than he's ever called for.”
The best Schumer can do here is stall and hope Trump is so bad that in 2018 the Democrats somehow gain three seats in the Senate and take control. The odds of that are however very slim, as it's much more likely the Republicans will end up with the 60 they need to wipe President Obama's legacy off the map and along with it classic liberalism and the social compact.
That's because there are ten Democratic senators up for re-election in 2018 in states that Trump carried in 2016:
Bill Nelson in Florida
Joe Donnelly in Indiana
Debbie Stabenow in Michigan
Claire McCaskill in Missouri
Jon Tester in Montana
Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota
Sherrod Brown in Ohio
Bob Casey in Pennsylvania
Joe Manchin in West Virginia
Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin.
The only Republican senator up for re-election in a Clinton state is Dean Heller of Nevada. Needless to say, given Democratic performances in the last two midterms, if I'm Mitch the Turtle I'm feeling really, really good about my chances of getting 60 seats in 2019.
Getting the machinery going now to defend these seats and pick off Dean Heller in Nevada, and maybe, maybe Jeff Flake in Arizona, is probably a good idea.
As to Schumer, well, he's not Harry Reid, is he.