The most important (and interesting) aspect of 2017 is not going to be what President-elect Donald Trump does; it’s going to be how Senate Republicans deal with their trouble-making Democrat opponents. Republicans don’t have enough votes in the Senate to pass legislation or confirm justices. Based on the current rules, 60 votes are needed to end debate, and Democrats, according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY), have no interest in letting that happen. From NBC News:
In a measured but blunt interview on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York took on Trump over a number of issues, calling him a “fake” populist who was “dumb” to continue squabbling with the U.S. intelligence community.
But it was the vacancy on the Supreme Court created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February that led to Schumer’s strongest challenge to the president-elect. …
Asked by Maddow whether he, too, would seek to keep the vacant seat open, Schumer replied: “Absolutely.”
“It’s hard for me to imagine a nominee that Donald Trump would choose that would get Republican support that we [Democrats] could support,” he said.
Republicans can stop all this nonsense, of course, by changing the rules (basically, the “nuclear option”) so that only a majority of votes are needed to pass legislation/confirm justices. Doing so, however, is potentially dangerous, as Democrats will likely retaliate when they come to power (whenever that is). Many Republican senators, notably John McCain, have, at least at times in the past, said they do not support going nuclear for this reason, but if they let Democrats push them around, they won’t accomplish anything and they’ll be out of power anyway. How Senate Republicans handle the situation will likely alter the future of the nation for decades to come.
PHOTO: Donald Trump at 2013 CPAC event. Photo by Gage Skidmore.