As things stand right now, Dems have no power. Not only did they lose the 2016 election, they lost the House and the Senate. For the past year Republicans – operating under Reconciliation rules (simple majority to pass anything) – did not need the Dems and the Democrats were not welcome. They were not consulted on Health Care (“Better Care”) on the tax package, or on anything. These things were hammered out in Republican-only closed meetings, the bills were kept secret until almost time to vote on them. Now suddenly the Republicans are back under regular rules where they need 60 votes. They don’t have 60 votes. They need Democrats. You would think they would make nice with the Dems (who disagree with almost every stated GOP policy). But the Republicans were the winners, and they refuse to give in the Democrats even on small things. The Democrats have no choice but to hang tough – to not blink. They could not represent their constituents and also keep the government open. Trump and the GOP put the Dems between a rock and a hard place. Their playbook is slim. They used the only play they have.
Perhaps the GOP will be successful in wiping out the Democrats and creating a one-party government but they have had to resort to using children and young adults as hostages to try to force Dems to accept pills that are bitter to them. The Republicans don’t even want to renew DACA or pass CHIP so their whole deal is disingenuous to begin with. The Republicans will not be kind to “we the people”. If the Dems are destroyed, America as we know it is destroyed.
The Republicans did not win in 2016 without cheating and trickery. The Republican coup. – well-planned in Conservative think tanks and “foundations” – used very effective but bloodless weapons to “steal” the American government. They passed laws that allowed them to funnel unmatchable dollars, from the Koch brothers and other millionaires and billionaires at the center of the Conservative web, to buy elections and sway opinions with advertising blitzes. And they did this at all levels – national, state, and right down to local districts and precincts (and they are still doing it).
They had their own media turning some Americans into Republican “pod” people, a reference to the old movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers, although in this case it was minds that got snatched. They are still buying up media outlets. They had talking points that were repeated so often we all have them memorized. The had and still have rabidly inflexible gatekeepers enforcing the no-raised-taxes pledge and their 2nd Amendment insanity. They were, and still are, collecting state governments and even using ALEC to write laws they favored, which were passed verbatim in state legislatures.
They had a Supreme Court that was not quite as packed as they would have liked but which still often skewed right. They kept beating the baby-murderer drum to keep anti-abortionists riled up. They overturned a key section of the Voter Rights Act so they could suppress Dem votes. They used extreme gerrymandering to suppress Dem votes. They tried to pass voter ID laws and “clean up” voter rolls. They created a false meme about widespread voter fraud.
And finally, they accepted a partnership with the most flawed President ever, a bully to boot, and they besmirched their party to take over the US government. (I wrote a book about this although I did not foresee Trump– http://notabene718.com – The US Republican Constitution). Perhaps you heard Paul Ryan proudly announce the US Republican Government when the 115th Congress convened.
But Republicans may have made a deal with the devil and allowed Russia to interfere in the very election they worked so hard to win and they may be in bed with mafia/s. They will never know if their coup would have succeeded because it got Trump-ed.
So how on earth would Dems win one fight for any policy important to their constituents, when the Republicans control our government, without using their tiny edge – that Republicans in the Senate don’t have enough votes to win except where a simple majority will suffice. Democrats must use this tiny wedge or simply give in to the GOP agenda. The GOP agenda, however, is backwards and stingy. If the Democrats give up without a fight America loses a stake in the future of our world and perhaps there will be no democratic ideal, no human rights left, only greed and theft, ignorance and lots of work. (The Democrats also have this.)