Hope springs eternal, it seems. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told The View hosts on Tuesday that he knows that Republicans want to throw in the towel already — even though they control Washington DC by themselves for the first time in a decade. “Within three, four months,” Schumer predicted, “you’re going to see a whole lot of Republicans breaking with him.”
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) February 21, 2017
“My prediction is he keeps up on this path…within three, four months you’re going to see a whole lot of Republicans breaking with him,” Schumer said during an interview with ABC’s “The View.”
Schumer argued while most GOP lawmakers aren’t yet willing to break publicly from the White House, they are privately having “real problems” with Trump’s policies in his first month.
“A lot of the Republicans, they’re mainstream people. … They will feel they have no choice but to break with him,” he said.
A word of advice for the hosts of The View: Don’t hold your breath, and don’t bet on Schumer. This is the same leadership that blew a winnable election in 2016 — not just in the presidential race, but also in the Senate under Schumer’s guidance. They misjudged the electorate in several key states, including Wisconsin and Indiana, by running the same-old-same-old in a populist electorate, literally in those two states. They took a 23-10 advantage in Senate races and turned it into only a two-seat pickup, leaving Schumer a lot of time to make appearances on The View over the next couple of years. Next year, Schumer will still be running the show when Republicans have a 25-8 advantage in Senate races, including ten Democratic seats in states Trump won.
That’s not to say that the Republican road will run entirely smoothly between now and the next midterms. Trump and the GOP came to single-party governance in a new alliance between the party, conservatives, and populists. That will create plenty of tension over the next couple of years, but also plenty of opportunities to pursue common goals. The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) which starts today might give us a preview of the road ahead, as I write in my column today for The Fiscal Times:
Will the different factions focus on common goals and stay united through Trump’s first term, offering flexibility on areas of potential disagreement? One key test will take place this week in National Harbor, Maryland. The annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) begins Thursday and will feature appearances from both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Even that pairing signals a change of sorts and a potential sign of post-election focus. A year ago, Trump backed out of a commitment to speak rather than conform to the moderator format used for all other candidates, while Pence has long been a favorite of the conservative activist groups that attend CPAC.
The CPAC event carries significant weight within think-tank and grassroots circles. Does it mean anything for the millions of voters who don’t attend political conferences? Perhaps this year more than most, yes. Before 2016, Republicans and conservatives didn’t put a lot of trust in one another, and neither trusted populists at all. That played out at previous CPACs and other conferences, but without the power to govern, the clashes were largely academic.
Single-party governance has raised the stakes significantly in 2017. With only some limited exceptions for Democratic obstructionism – both on presidential appointments and on potential filibusters on legislation – the three-way alliance must show it can deliver on promises made in the election cycle. Trump has to make government work; Republicans have to shrink government while ensuring that the Rust Belt voters don’t wind up paying the price for it.
Those potential divisions won’t get resolved at CPAC, but we will see how well those competing interests can work together this week. These smae interest groups will be putting pressure on Congress and the White House to deliver on long-standing promises, now made possible by the big win in 2016. If they can’t talk with each other here, it won’t look promising for prospects down the road, either. But contra Schumer, that doesn’t mean that Republicans will cross the aisle en masse simply because they don’t like Trump’s style, either. They have too much at stake to just sit around in stasis for another two years, and so does the White House.
Meanwhile, the Hot Air/Townhall/Red State gang is on hand at CPAC. We’ll mostly focus on our events here — a panel discussion at 4 ET today, and a reception tomorrow at the same time — but we offered a curtain-raiser this morning on Facebook Live. Here are Katie Pavlich, Guy Benson, Caleb Howe, and me discussing some of the stakes here at CPAC 2017, and the trends we will be watching.