Since Election Day, Democrats of all stripes have signaled a willingness to work with the president-elect on issues of common concern. Specifically, they’ve broadcast their interest in helping Donald Trump follow through on his vow to fix the nation’s ailing roads, bridges, and grids. Congressional Democrats’ foremost public faces, everyone from Bernie Sanders to Elizabeth Warren to Nancy Pelosi to Chuck Schumer, have sung the same tune: We are willing to help Trump rebuild American infrastructure, and to work with him to improve the lives of working people. When it comes to the more bigoted aspects of his campaign, though, they will fight him tooth and nail.
These conciliatory words have sparked a fierce backlash among many members of the liberal commentariat, as well as a handful of legislators. “If Democrats support elements of Trump’s agenda,” New York’s Jonathan Chait wrote, “it will make Trump more popular and lift the popularity of his party, enabling Republicans to entrench their majorities.” Rep. Ruben Gallego, a Democrat representing Phoenix, said that Trump’s “infrastructure plan is really a privatization scheme, rife with graft and corruption, whose real purpose is to enrich the Trump family and his supporters.”