On two important policies — sanctions on Russia and health care — a working majority of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate has already thwarted Trump. Another bipartisan majority appears to have formed against Trump’s threat to shut down the government unless he gets significant funding for a wall along the Southern border. In fact, on any number of issues, there are enough anti-Trump Republicans in the Senate not only to block the president but also to push their own policies contrary to the president’s — as was the case with Russia sanctions.
Congressional government would not have to address every question. On matters where Republicans and Democrats sharply disagree, there could be a truce or partisan business as usual. But on matters where they both see a threat to the nation’s interests — from the president’s encouragement of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and racist, law-breaking local government officials, to his appeasement of Russian President Vladimir Putin, to his efforts to impede criminal probes — Congress can wield the power of the purse. It can prevent a secretary of state from destroying the United States’ diplomatic corps. It can provide support to officials who refuse to carry out irresponsible and dangerous directives. It can find some compromise on a few fiscal matters to prevent a demagogue from undermining the U.S. economy by defaulting on the debt.