Should Democrats Cooperate With Or Resist President Trump?

Democrats – and the world – have had nearly a month to acclimate to the unthinkable: An egomaniacal, bullying, boasting, undisciplined and willfully ignorant man will be president.

We’ve had time to consider how we should react, including whether and how to engage a President Trump and his administration.

Most Republicans have made their choices. Even party leaders who denounced Trump in damning terms ­– declaring him unfit, a con man, a fraud and a danger to democracy – now seek jobs in his administration. These former opponents, like 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney, know Trump has multiple conflicting interests that will tempt him to cash in on his office. They know he’s unsuited to head the armed forces and represent the country abroad. But they’ll sign on to advance their careers or push through their pet projects, like tax cuts for the wealthy, a weakened social safety net and gutted environmental regulations.

History will not treat these former leaders kindly. The past is littered with the smashed reputations of officials who attached themselves to despots, thinking they could manipulate their leaders or moderate their worst impulses in pursuit of short-term political gain. Today’s Republicans are playing a dangerous game.

For Democrats, the choice is more difficult. They may achieve legitimate goals like an infrastructure bill by selectively engaging a Trump administration.

But Democrats must stand firm against Trump and Trumpism. Collaborating would make us little better than the self-serving Republicans who aim to use Trump for their own ends.

There are good reasons to fight, rather than cooperate. For one, Trump’s early appointments have smashed any illusion that his administration would be more moderate than his campaign rhetoric. Each person he’s chosen to serve has a record of antagonism toward established policies that help Americans and keep us safe.

His vice president is a hardline Christian who would highly restrict or eliminate a woman’s right to choose what to do with her body. Mike Pence also is rabidly opposed to equal rights for gay, lesbian and transgender citizens.

Trump’s nominee for Health and Human Services secretary wants to dismantle the Affordable Care Act that has given millions reasonably priced health insurance for the first time. That revocation includes the expanded Medicare program that is improving health and saving lives among the nation’s poorest citizens. (The nominee, Georgia Rep. Tom Price, says the ACA “interferes with the ability of patients and doctors to make medical decisions,” the New York Times reported. Interferes? More than private health insurance, which has long dictated which doctors we can see and forced physicians to seek prior approval for many procedures?)

Meanwhile, the nominee for education secretary is devoted to disemboweling the education system and replacing it with vouchers and charter schools, funneling the highest performing, most well off students to for-profit schools while those who need the most help are left in cash-starved public schools. How would this work in rural Iowa, where there are few private schools and not enough students to support charters?

For national security advisor, Trump nominated a rogue former general who thinks a ragtag band of uneducated radicals scrambling through Mideast deserts in pickup trucks are an existential threat to a nuclear-armed, militarized, wealthy nation of more than 300 million people. Michael Flynn’s belief that we’re in a world war with Islam antagonizes millions of believers in a mainline, ancient religion, providing fodder for those who would recruit new radicals.

And of course, there’s Trump’s strategy advisor who, if he isn’t a racist white nationalist himself has nonetheless eagerly embraced those who are for political expediency – which may be worse.

There’s more, from an attorney general who denigrates voter rights to a

But there’s an even bigger reason Democrats should refuse to cooperate with President Trump: Doing so makes the way he won the office a legitimate strategy. It makes lying, bullying, insulting and assault for political gain normal. It makes threatening to investigate and jail your political opponents acceptable. It makes appeals to hate, fear and racism permissible political tools.

In an earlier, more genteel era – before reality TV, take-no-crap attitudes, conservative talk radio rabble-rousers and if-you’ve-got-it-flaunt-it social media coarsened our discourse – polite society would have ostracized a Donald Trump. His ostentatious wealth, bragging self-promotion and demeaning attitude toward women and the less fortunate would have made him an outcast. No amount of money would have bought him legitimacy.

This is not to say Democrats should treat a Trump presidency as illegitimate, as President Obama’s detractors – including Trump – attempted to do, via the citizenship issue. Like it or not, he will be president.

That’s why Democrats should give Trump the cold shoulder. His behavior during the campaign – actually for the last eight years, as he attacked President Obama’s citizenship – and his continued insults and lies since the election have earned him scorn and exclusion. Anything less hints that his horrible behavior is tolerable.


by Thomas O’Donnell
Posted 12/6/16

14 Comments on "Should Democrats Cooperate With Or Resist President Trump?"

  • Cold shoulder? Only a concerted opposition led by our Congressional leaders will keep Trump in check. The irony is that the harder we push the miore outrageous his response and Americans will start learning what fascism is all about

  • One error: Medicare protects the elderly regardless of income level. Medicaid is the program that protects the poor and it is as good as if not better than Medicare. They are both worth protecting.

    • An Trump supports protecting both social Security and Medicaid. He would just like to eliminate the waste and the political BS.

  • “Democrats – and the world – have had nearly a month to acclimate to the unthinkable: An egomaniacal, bullying, boasting, undisciplined and willfully ignorant man will be president.”

    Words for a Party to die by. The American people have finally seen thru the fog of progressive baloney and elected reasonable people as President, majority in the US House, US Senate, State Governors and state legislatures. They did that because of comments like the above.

    90 million Americans are out of the workforce. Lowest workforce employment rate in decades.

    49 million Americans on food stamps.

    African Americans are suffering under the Democratic plantations where they live in squalor, without job opportunity and where crime is rampant.

    Yeah, Democrats have something to fight with … policies that the American people believe will make America great again and respect for the voters.

  • These kind of comments are really going to get you votes:

    “vice president is a hardline Christian”. Shows the Democrats are intolerant, discriminatory and disrespectful of Americans.

    “Affordable Care Act that has given millions reasonably priced health insurance for the first time.” Shows Democrats are delusional. Expanded Medicaid is a government entitlement that is funded by tax-payers. Obamacare ripped 5 million people out of their choice of healthcare and doctors. The cost of healthcare is rising rapidly. Extremely high deductibles help slow the rise in premiums making insurance unusable for many. Insurance company’s are leaving in droves because the system is unworkable.

    “the nominee for education secretary is devoted to disemboweling the education system: Yeah, eliminate the stranglehold the unions have on education improvements. African Americans welcome vouchers and charter schools because what they are living with now is third world quality. Check the US standing in world education compared to howe they used to perform.

    So I say go ahead, fight the American people on why they elected Donald Trump and Republicans across the US at your peril.

    • O’Donnell’s comments are a reflection of bitterness over devastating losses politically, simply because of being out of touch with most people, and they can’t see the facts that point it out . However your short sightedness in the things your party has championed will backfire, because you can’t slash & gut your way to prosperity . Look around at the places where the ideals you promote have been implemented for some time now(4 yrs,at a minimum), and you will see that the opposite extreme dosen’t work any better ! If you care to remember we in this state, and country didn’t get in this predicament overnight ! So if you think that in a few more years of what you believe to be your parties answers for everything the liberals have done wrong, and you will have fix what’s wrong, than hold on, for the backlash from the same minions that you have also fooled . Hopefully, you will be alive to see the real revolt , and it won’t be pritty . Short sightedness, and feelgood fixes are no cure for what ails us, it will take honesty, practicality, reasoned thought, and most of all the feeling of EQUALITY for all !

  • It’s a sad day in America when a guy like Trump can be elected to the highest office in the land. I’m sorry to say this is no longer the country I used to live in. The only thing that gives me comfort today is knowing that more than 2.6 million Americans voted for Clinton over Trump. It’s too bad the popular vote doesn’t mean anything! There’s not enough space to list all the negative adjectives that describe our president-elect, so I won’t bother. You’ve heard them all, I’m sure. Although Hillary Clinton was fully qualified to be president, I will agree there might have been a candidate with fewer negatives. But we’re stuck with Trump and we will all see in time where he will take the country. My personal feeling is this. Trump thrives on personal praise (as if he is a god) and rejects all criticism. He is thin-skinned and reacts without thinking on twitter. He lies most of the time. If your spouse or child lied to you I’m guessing you wouldn’t like it. But it’s okay if the president lies? So much for setting a good example! Trump embraces hate. That is so obvious I won’t even elaborate. Trump sees his election to president as a golden opportunity to expand his business empire, while the taxpayers pay his way! Conflicts of interests as well as national security concerns will abound under Trump. Greed is his priority and nothing will get in his way to get richer. Wish he would have disclosed his taxes so we would know what business interests in what countries he might have! He despises the mainstream media, while choosing conspiracy theory sources and social media outlets where misinformation runs rampant! I could go on and on but I’ve got other things to do. Needless to say I fear the months that lie ahead! You should too! This renegade president-elect is a horrible choice as far as humans go. We need to fight him every step of the way as he will try to take away the treasured traditions and values we hold most dear. Pray for our country.

  • Nicely written, Thomas. Thank you. Not sure what is worse, a Trump presidency or all the republicans who have set their morals and character aside to now praise Trump for a percived career boost.

  • Most scholars and politically astute researchers are saying the democracy in the USA is long dead. The USA now is a fascist plutocracy and it will not change soon. Government is in the hands of vested interests from Wall Street to the military and it would not surprise me if in short time the politicians would declare this land the Fourth Reich. What is happening now and the advance of Donald T matches nearly identically to what the people of Germany knew in 1933 and later. To support Trump is as foolish as the appeasers of Hitler. The Germans did not fight the emerging NAZI gangs that patrolled and rioted in Berlin as most believed it was just a nuisance. Complacency did and will again give way to the transformation of the Stars standing for something as this nation becomes more (and irreparably) divided. I, for one, will do what I can to stop Donald every opportunity I have as I have no respect for the man, his cabinet, Congress, the infested CIA or anything under his stranglehold. If the Electoral College does not respect what they were established to do as Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist papers. Donald is not now, nor will ever be, my president.

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