Democrats in Congress are grappling with how to deal with their new reality – a Republican president, Congress, and House – while facing tough pressure from their base, eager for them to resist any proposals that President Trump puts forward.
When President Obama took office, Republicans held strong with massive opposition and faced very few consequences, a result Democrats may look to as they contemplate their current actions.
Longtime Republican consultant Mike Murphy, appearing on 1947, the Meet The Press podcast with Chuck Todd, called this strategy “a brilliant political tactic” but acknowledged that, “a strategy tends to be a longer term deal.”
“You can argue that when they started using mustard gas in the western front in World War I it was a brilliant tactic because it really worked for a while, but then everybody had mustard gas,” he said. “We find out that the opposition theory works great in the short term, but you also teach the other guys how to use the same weapons against you.”
Looking back at this election’s outcome and how the nation ended up here, Murphy noted that polling has gotten harder as it gets more difficult to reach people on the phone, and he admitted one thing that’s “dangerous to say in politics” – “I think there's been an over reliance on analytical data.”
The political electorate has become so polarized, he said, that politicians are so focused on turnout of their base rather than catering to new voters.
“I came up doing Republican governors in blue and purple states where we got 40% of the vote for free and we had to go and earn the other 10% wit the right issues, persuasion,” he reflected.
“You're a better politician and you understand the other guy's voters because you stole some to get elected.... ultimately we need politics to effectively govern, which is the only way to run a growing, rising superpower, and I'd sure like us to be one this century."