Editor’s Note: David R. Wheeler is a freelance writer, a journalism professor at the University of Tampa and the editor of the online magazine AliveTampaBay.com. Follow him on Twitter: @David_R_Wheeler. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
David Wheeler: GOP surprised unconventional President cut a deal with Democrats
Wheeler: Americans are begging for more bipartisanship -- on health care, DACA
Republicans are shocked that President Donald Trump cut a deal with the Democrats. The deal keeps the government open and attaches hurricane relief money to a rise in the debt ceiling.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan were “blindsided by this” turn of events, a Republican official told CNN.
Another senior GOP source described the two leaders as “shell-shocked.”
So let me get this straight: GOP leaders are surprised because (a) the most unconventional Republican President in history, who (b) used to “identify as a Democrat,” who has (c) spent the last several weeks attacking GOP leaders on Twitter, has (d) cut a deal with the Democrats?
How, exactly, are you shocked by this, dear GOP leaders?
Let’s not forget (e): Americans are begging for more bipartisanship in Congress.
But Democrats, don’t get too cocky. We can already see how self-satisfied you are for “putting one over” on the Republicans by finagling this deal with Trump.
You’re not there to crow; you’re there to help govern the country. And who knows? Maybe you’re not really in the driver’s seat this time like you think you are. Let’s see: Can anyone think of a recent time when the Democrats thought they had something in the bag? They were so sure of it?
Now consider this: After eight months of abysmal approval ratings, is the self-proclaimed master dealmaker testing the viability of a new strategy? Namely, working with Democrats?
If so, here are two other areas where Americans would love to see more bipartisan deals – and would reward Trump for making them.
First, Mr. President, please take back the cruel idea of rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The overwhelming majority of voters support a pathway to citizenship or legal residency for immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children. So let’s “shell-shock” some more Republicans and reverse course on DACA.
To settle the issue of DACA’s constitutionality, Trump can still urge Congress to pass a bill protecting the Dreamers. Meanwhile, he can prove he has “great heart” for these kids – as he’s said before – and he can let DACA stay in place while Congress creates a permanent solution through bipartisan legislation.
Next, Trump can shock the GOP by making a deal on health care. Again, Americans overwhelmingly want a bipartisan solution to our health care system’s myriad problems. Even Fox News’ polling shows that 74% of voters favor Republicans reaching out to Democrats on this issue.
Let’s not forget that Trump was elected by people who hoped he could short-circuit the partisan gridlock in Washington. Remember the night he flipped the entire industrial Midwest from blue to red? Yeah. Me too.
So let’s do it, Donald! Let’s keep shocking the GOP by cutting bipartisan deals. It might be the only way for your approval rating to rise above 37%.