Why might bipartisanship be possible today? There are two reasons, and Senate Republicans will be the key to what happens. Basically, two developments are creating political pressure on Senate Republicans to at least consider working with Democrats. The first is that President Trump keeps delving deeper and deeper into politically intolerable territory. There are many Republicans who are deeply frustrated with Trump’s failure to move any legislative agenda and, especially after the disastrous response of the president to the white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, that he is causing irreparable damage to the reputation of his party. Each day seems to get worse and some Republicans must be thinking that the only way to salvage their party is to reach across the aisle. Senate Republicans could decide that working with the Democrats is the ultimate way to stick it to the president.
Senate Republicans are also aware, especially after the collapse of the health-care bill, that the Freedom Caucus is now producing legislation that is so extreme it is not viable for many Republicans to support and that they are not committed to the basic demands of governance. Some Republicans like Senator John McCain have been warning for years that House Republicans are severely damaging the reputation of the GOP and, like Trump, making it hard for the party to gain traction even when they are a majority.