June 6, 2023

Christmas gift to Democrats

IMMEDIATE RELEASE 25 December 2020WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUNDToday’s Events in Historical PerspectiveAmerica’s Longest-Running Column Founded 1932Trump’s Christmas gift to DemocratsBy Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift          WASHINGTON – With his days in power dwindling, President Trump unwittingly handed the Democrats a gift by announcing he wanted to send $2,000 relief checks to all eligible individuals, ridiculing the $600 amount Republicans in Congress negotiated as too low.         He’s right, Americans need more help, but with his own party blocking a higher number, it was his own inaction on the issue that created the chasm.         Trump’s surprise intervention is great news for Georgia Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock who are in tight Senate runoff races on January 5. Both quickly agreed with Trump that Americans should get a more realistic sum for financial relief, and they challenged their Republican opponents to say whether they support Trump or will stick with the bill Trump says is so terrible. Thanks to Trump, they are going to take hits at the polls either way.         Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler were caught off guard along with everybody else, and they are stuck politically. Do they support Trump’s eleventh-hour demand? Or do they defend the bill they just voted for? It passed the Senate 92 to 6, and Perdue and Loeffler were already taking victory laps.          Voters focus on safety and their pocketbooks, and a populist like Trump knows this. So, here in the midst of a forlorn hope to remain in office, he is throwing a financial bone to the public, a bone too late to help him, but a mana-from-heaven bone to Ossoff and Warnock.         The two Democratic Senate hopefuls are not going to turn a majority of Trump loyalists and their allies into supporters. Those are numbers they do not need. They only need a small percentage of them to side with Trump and his unlikely Democratic allies on this issue, either casting their ballots for Ossoff and Warnock or boycotting the election in disillusioned frustration.         On the other hand if Purdue and Loeffler hypocritically denounce their previous $600 votes and jump on Trump’s $2,000 bandwagon, they will either be too late since mail-in voting has already commenced or they will alienate mainstream Republicans who adhere to fiscal conservatism and favor the lower number.         Meanwhile, Trump left for Mar-a-Lago and as he golfed on Christmas Eve, it was unknown how serious he is about scuttling the $2.3 trillion bill that funds the government and includes $900 billion in Covid-19 relief to Americans who are in desperate straits. Unemployment benefits are ending, evictions will resume, and states and localities need funds to distribute the vaccine. But the veto will be overridden, or a new bill will quickly emerge and be signed.          Of more ongoing moment, Trump’s gift may place the Democrats in control of the Senate, and the incoming Biden administration will not face the stalemate President Barack Obama faced in his second term when his Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, for example, was never even given a Senate hearing by the Republican majority.          So, as Trump toys with military action to overturn the election, and as he remains inexplicably loyal to Vladimir Putin in the face of a massive Russian cyber-attack, and as he contemplates the post-presidency possibility of criminal and civil proceedings against him in New York, he can at least say Merry Christmas – to Democrats.           Douglas Cohn’s latest books are World War 4: Nine Scenarios (endorsed by seven flag officers) and The President’s First Year: The Only School for Presidents Is the Presidency.          Twitter:  @douglas_cohn          © 2020 U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.          Distributed by U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.          END WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUND


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