Senator Ted Cruz has some predictions about what the legislature will be like for the next two-to-four years, predicting that Democrats in the Senate will be historically obstructionist. It’s an odd claim coming from a man who helped shut down the government because the legislature couldn’t repeal the Affordable Care Act.
.@TedCruz predicts Dems will now become "obstructionists at a level we've never seen." They'll "filibuster absolutely everything they can."
— Patrick Svitek (@PatrickSvitek) December 19, 2016
While talking to Patrick Svitek of The Texas Tribune, Sen. Cruz tried to start the ground work to push any blame for a lack of an Obamacare replacement on Senate Democrats. Currently, the plan is to repeal the Affordable Care Act through a budgetary measure that only requires a simple senate majority. However, any plan to replace it (which has not yet been created) will be subject to the filibuster.
Yet, this is despite the unprecedented level of obstructionism Republicans have employed throughout the eight years of President Obama’s term, including taking the heretofore unseen step of simply refusing to confirm a high court nominee for more than a year.
It’s a gamble they might win. When it comes to messaging, the GOP has primed their voters perfectly. As Mitch McConnell clearly stated in 2010, the Republicans had a single focus to deny President Obama a second term.
If you look objectively at President Obama’s efforts–particularly before the 2014 midterms–to engender bipartisan support on a host of issues, he has been a weak negotiator. For example, in the healthcare debate, to appease conservative blue dogs and hopefully attract a moderate Republican from a Blue State, the ACA dropped the public option. Like blood in the water, the GOP swarmed on the plan, only strengthening their opposition.
“Republicans, though, would argue that their opposition has been principled, and it’s Obama who has been pursuing a liberal agenda that they simply cannot vote for. What Democrats might view as Obama’s efforts to reach across the aisle would be dismissed by Republicans as meaningless half-gestures,” according to The Washington Post.
Yet, as Pew Research discovered, Republicans are primed to think the exact opposite about President Trump. “Half of Americans say it is at least somewhat likely Trump will work with Democrats in Washington to address important issues facing the country, while roughly as many (47%) expect Democrats in Washington will work with Trump,” they report. Of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters, a full 73 percent expect him to cooperate with Democrats.
Trump is not an ideological politician, so that could play into why the expectation for bipartisanship comes from. However, even though Trump is “new” in Washington, everyone else is a veteran D.C. operator.
Yet, regardless of the reality, this gives the Republicans a slight advantage for the midterm elections, especially if things go poorly. For eight years, they have painted their intransigence as good-faith in the face of a radical, unprincipled leader. Democrats know this, and the Republicans are trying to politically flank them before the battle even begins.
What do you think? Share your thoughts and reactions in the comments below.
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