Trump Converts a House Democrat

What, like it’s hard?

President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks at the White House Summit on Child Care and Paid Leave: Supporting America’s Working Families on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

Wonders Never Cease

After a meeting with President Trump, Democratic Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ) has officially announced that he will be a Democrat no more. Did Trump win him, or did Democrats lose him?

A vocal holdout on impeachment, Van Drew has been at odds with Democratic Party leadership for some time. It isn’t terribly surprising that he should have found the Democratic Party suddenly too hot for a borderline-conservative like himself.

Still, House Democrats don’t switch parties everyday.

Contrast Van Drew with say, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez- who says she will likely vote “No” on the USMCA, even with Speaker Nancy Pelosi voting “Yes”- or with Rep. Ilhan Omar- who announced today she is against a property owner’s right to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent- and you get some idea of why Van Drew is switching parties.

But while most moderate Democrats from swing districts consider the incendiary antics of their more famous, deep-blue district colleagues little more that a drop in the bucket against the daily onslaughts of Donald Trump against the standards of American decency, other moderates aren’t so sure.

Across the pond, conservative Boris Johnson’s crushing defeat of the liberal British Labour Party has U.S. Democratic politicians even more nervous about November.

That Trump has managed to find a Democrat willing to leave the Democratic Party for him should be giving Democratic leadership another pause.

Trump is crass, even if he is doing a good job with the economy and is keeping America out of any new pointless foreign wars. Any other President enjoying the economic growth Donald Trump has overseen would be coasting easily to re-election right now.

That he isn’t shows just how much Trump’s abrasive personal style, and the tendency of the press to over-amplify his every unskillful communication as proof of malice, is hurting Trump’s appeal.

But he clearly isn’t the political liability Democrats would like him to be.

While Trump may seem necessarily combative at times- especially on Twitter- any other President might not have been able to hold up under the ruthless onslaught of resistance Democrats in the press and in his own administration.

A Mitt Romney might have bowed under the pressure and resigned. Even a John McCain or a George H.W. Bush, rest them, might have had a difficult time navigating the turbulent waters of first the Mueller investigation, then the Ukraine impeachment inquiry.

The most salacious aspects of the now-infamous Steele Dossier have been proven completely false by the Horowitz Report, and the most-infamous “pee tape” revealed to have originated as nothing more than a bar joke between tipsy co-workers.

In the immortal words of Matt Taibibi of the Rolling Stone, “If the report released Monday by the Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz constitutes a ‘clearing’ of the FBI, never clear me of anything.”

Yet no one, neither in the press nor across the aisle, seems in any hurry to apologize to Trump for impugning him.

Everyone knows what Trump says on the internet; the press has been dancing attendance on Trumpian Tweets for years.

It is what he is saying in private- to people like Rep. Jeff Van Drew and Senator Mitt Romney- that should have Democrats more concerned: He is winning them over.

Fantasies the press is currently entertaining about Republican Senators concocting a secret plot to trap Trump in a Senate trial are so much wishful thinking nonsense. Anyone entertaining them has clearly been watching too much television.

No Senate Republicans are going to back Democratic efforts to remove Trump.

Not even Mitt Romney.

It is instead House Democrats who are deserting, with some vulnerable moderates hopelessly floating the idea of censure and others declaring outright that they plan to vote against impeachment, and against Pelosi, on Wednesday.

Rep. Jeff Van Drew is leaving the Democratic Party. He may be leaving because of impeachment; he may be leaving for Trump. He may even be leaving for money; the Republican Party and Donald Trump certainly have more of it than the DNC to help Van Drew get re-elected.

Van Drew may be the first, but he may not be the last.

(Contributing writer, Brooke Bell)

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