Trump can't make Senate Republicans do anything

Don’t be fooled by his relative success in roll-call votes. Most of the thwarted items haven’t actually reached the Senate floor, because that’s not how majority-party opposition to a same-party president usually works. And of course Trump has been very successful at confirming judicial selections, but that’s surely because he’s doing what Republican senators want, not because they are following his suggestions. I don’t think there’s been a single judge nominated who is more of a Trump person than an orthodox conservative Republican.

Mostly, this is a function of how bad Trump is at presidenting. The failed nominations, for example, were easily avoidable had the White House done its homework before committing publicly to choices who had no chance of being confirmed. Some of the policies might have gone over better had Trump consulted with key senators in advance and either modified his policies or cut deals for their support.

Turning what could be quiet consultation and adjustment into higher-profile defeats creates a reputation that the president is easily rolled, which makes it more likely he’ll be successfully opposed in the future. The two recent Fed debacles, after all, came only after two previous Fed nominations died in the Senate.