Let’s reverse angle. The president’s first 100 days in office have been analyzed, dissected, evaluated. Not much left to say about them. What about the opposition? What do the Democrats have to show for these first months of the Trump era?
Little. Trump’s defeats have not come at the Democrats’ hands. Those setbacks have been self-inflicted (over-the-top tweets, hastily written policies, few sub-cabinet nominations) or have come from the judiciary (the travel ban, the sanctuary cities order) or from Republican infighting (health care). Deregulation, Keystone pipeline, immigration enforcement—Democrats have been powerless to stop them.
Chuck Schumer slow-walked Trump’s nominations as best he could. In fact his obstruction was unprecedented. But the cabinet is filling up, the national security team in place. On the Supreme Court, Schumer miscalculated royally. He forced an end to the filibuster for judicial appointments, yet lost anyway. If another appointment opens this summer, and the Republicans hold together, the Democrats will have zero ability to prevent the Court from moving right. No matter what he says in public, Schumer can’t possibly think that a success.
The prevalent anti-Trump sentiment obscures the party’s institutional degradation. Democratic voters despise the president—he enjoys the approval of barely more than 10 percent of them—and this anger and vitriol manifests itself in our media and culture. So Rachel Maddow and Stephen Colbert enjoy a ratings boom, the women’s march attracts a massive crowd, the New York Times sells more subscriptions, and Bill Nye leads a rainy-day “march for science.” The desire to ostentatiously “resist” Trump leads to better-than-expected results for Democratic candidates in congressional special elections. But the candidates don’t win—or at least they haven’t yet.