News & Politics

'Centrist' Democrats: President Trump? No Problem!

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Et tu, Heidi?

As Democrats portray Donald Trump as a dangerous leader for his party, most of them barely acknowledge he could be president. But some centrist Democrats say they’re ready and willing to work with the business mogul should he defeat their party’s nominee.

“The people will have a chance to vote. If Donald Trump is elected president there will be a great opportunity to sit down and have a conversation about what that agenda looks like,” explained Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), who has long backed Hillary Clinton. “If he’s president, we’re going to have disagreement. But we’d better all figure out how to come up with an agenda for the American people.”

Getting ready for a potential Trump presidency in their home states may just be good politics for moderate senators such as Heitkamp, Jon Tester of Montana and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin. They’ll be top targets for Republicans in 2018, a midterm year that could favor the GOP if recent trends of lower turnouts in nonpresidential elections continue. And it’s a good bet that they’ll need Trump voters to keep their jobs.

A hallmark of the Stupid Party — and, to a larger extent, its Stupid Supporters — is thinking that the Democrats don’t have their own problems, that the media is entirely stacked against them for purely ideological reasons and woe oh woe is us. But the fact is, they are human beings too (well, some of them) and they act in their own self-interest, just as we do (well, some of us). And the fact is as well that, as the Trump Train gathers steam — whether you like it or not — many are going to opportunistically hop aboard, especially if and when they see the destination in sight and the flattened bodies of opponents lying on the rails behind them,

Trump should easily win North Dakota and neighboring Montana this fall if past is prologue: Montana went to Bill Clinton in 1992, while North Dakota hasn’t gone Democratic since 1964. He’ll also certainly win West Virginia and be favored to win Missouri as well: Both states have been in the GOP column since 2000.

For Democrats in those states, ignoring Trump’s political success, and by extension his supporters, would be a risky move. So some Democrats say they can see some opportunities for working together during a hypothetical Trump presidency, given that the Republican front-runner has based his campaign on being a deal maker — unlike any other prominent GOP candidate this cycle.

Nobody knows what’s going to happen, least of all me. But this has the potential to be a realigning election, not on partisan “movement” grounds but on common-sense grounds. And since the American Republican was founded on exactly those grounds, that is a thing devoutly to be wished. Lead, follow, or get out of the way: