The New Politics Of Washington

Whether you like Donald Trump or don’t, it seems apparent now that he is operating on a different wave-length at least when it comes to partisan politics. On paper, his party controls both houses of the federal legislature, yet he recently signed off on a deal to keep government running with Democratic support. What gives?

In my opinion, President Trump is essentially a transactional person. He is not much driven by ideology. He wants to do things, and he also wants to be at the center of whatever that is. If “X” doesn’t work, he will try “Y.”

If casinos in New Jersey no longer work, let’s try building hotels overseas. If the Republicans on Capitol Hill can’t deliver on a vote (like repealing Obamacare,) then let’s see what the Democrats have to offer.

In a counter-intuitive kind of way, maybe we are finding a way forward for this Presidency. The White House will make a proposal today, and a “tweet” might reverse it tomorrow. Yet, if what ultimately gets done, requires the consent of both major political parties on Capitol Hill… maybe the country can move forward.

What is clear is that President Trump is beginning to realize that running the Executive branch of the federal government is a lot different from running a multi-million dollar private corporation. You can’t just lay down an edict which everyone will agree to. You have to find consensus which means compromise and vote-counting.

Some Democrats may find fault with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for his willingness to deal with this President. Yet, I find it laudable that our Senator is able to put aside some basic disagreements and try to find common ground upon which to run the government.

Even a person who doesn’t like government still doesn’t want it shut down. People want their social security checks, their healthcare, and definitely want a strong military protecting them.

Where is all of this going? It is still too early to tell but I think it is fair to say that our current President does not want the government to shut down on his watch.

Those of us who are essentially “observers” in all of this watch in amazement. Congressional investigations continue to go on, changes keep happening at the White House, sometimes it is hard to know who is on first, second or third base. Nevertheless, it is not boring.

One other “unknown” has, in my opinion, become a stabilizing force in our politics… and that is the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and now Irma.

In a “backdoor” kind of way, these tragic weather events have become a common experience in unifying the country. We all need each other and want to help each other.

Keeping the government running never seemed to be a priority, it was a given. It is clear that it is not something we can take for granted any longer; and, for now, it has become the catalyst for action on Capitol Hill.

Rolland Kidder is a Stow resident.

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