Red state resistance: Democrats in Trump country buck Trump
A new analysis shows that even in states where Donald Trump won, Democrats are resisting his agenda.
The conventional wisdom is that Democratic officials in states that went for Donald Trump, especially those up for election soon, will go along with him in order to keep Trump voters happy. But a new analysis from Politico show that, so far, that is not the case, as even red state Democrats are resisting the unpopular Republican.
The outlet reports that “eight of the 10 most vulnerable Democrats on the ballot next year voted with their party at least four-fifths of the time,” while opposing Trump.
Trump has said he wants to peel off Democratic votes to work with him on issues like infrastructure spending and tax reform, but has used up most of the political capital from his election win on enacting the failing Muslim ban and the widely unpopular health care repeal legislation.
Politico analyzed how the Senators voted based on which Cabinet nominations Democratic leadership singled out for opposition, as well as deregulatory measures that Senate Republicans have pushed through Congress.
The Democrat crossing the aisle most often during those 15 votes, [West Virginia Senator Joe] Manchin did so on seven of them. Excluding Manchin, Trump’s most controversial Cabinet nominees lost Republican votes as often as they won Democratic votes.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) was close behind Manchin with five GOP-aligned votes. Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, broke from the bulk of their party on three of the 15 votes.
Moreover, Senator Claire McCaskill — who represents Missouri, where Trump won by 19 percent — has voted against key Trump nominees, including Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education, Scott Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. McCaskill voted in favor of only two deregulatory measures supported by Trump, opposing the remaining six, and was among the senators who called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign after it was revealed that he lied about meeting with Russian officials during his confirmation hearing.
Politicians are attracted to winning, and if Trump’s agenda was seen as winning votes in those red states, Democrats in those areas would be more likely to buck their party and go along with him. But instead, Trump keeps losing — in court and in public opinion — and thus the incentive simply is not there for red state Democrats to anger the party base and moderate voters by hitching their wagons to Trump.
The results so far show that solidarity from the Resistance has kept even the most bendable Democrats from breaking.