Last week, the New York Daily News published what I consider a smart, level-headed, lefty take on President Trump’s strategy from Mike Gecan, co-director of the Industrial Areas Foundation. IAF, as you may know, is the very progressive organization started in 1940 by Saul Alinsky.

Gecan compares Trump’s playbook to that of Gov. Scott Walker, who over three election cycles has turned his state from blue to red. I don’t think the comparison is perfect, nor do I think the football analogy he uses actually helps his argument much, but there’s definitely something to this piece to get you thinking.

Gecan describes the Left’s disappointment in Wisconsin — how 100,000 activists descended on the state capitol to stop Act 10, drawing international attention and casting doubt on the state Republican Party’s future; only to be defeated in the legislature, in the courts, and finally by public opinion and the voters.

Gecan attributes this to Democrats’ preference for mass protests, sing-a-longs and sit-ins that draw attention but don’t really affect anything, over interacting with the very sort of ordinary working people who just decided the 2016 election in a few key states.

While the opponents were massing in Madison, the Walker crowd was running another offense in local districts … The Walker team and the Trump team know this dirty little secret about progressive Democrats: They love the long pass to the quicksilver wide receiver, but have no stomach for the hard slog that occurs in the trenches.
Many Dems either don’t know how to relate to people with moderate or mixed views or they don’t want to. They prefer rock stars and celebrities to bus drivers and food service workers. They like cute sayings and clever picket signs, not long and patient listening sessions with people who have complicated interests, people who might not pass the liberal litmus test.

I’m not sure I buy all of it, but there’s something to this, and you recognize it when you listen to the growing vitriol and intolerance for dissent that seems to be rising on the left today. At the very least, Gecan has drawn the critical distinction between the #resistance warriors who have been showing up at protests in every city, and the everyday people whom Democrats must rely on for votes if they’re going to win.

Gecan also writes that Trump is rooting for Democrats to “follow the Wisconsin script and indulge in impeachment talk or rigid obstructionism — spending precious time and another fortune on ads and legal costs. Meanwhile, in the Midwest, where the next set of elections will be decided, the Trump crowd will keep racking up the points in local and statewide elections, preparing for the coup de grace in 2018 and 2020.”

I think this overstates the case. Walker did not succeed just through campaign mechanics or Democrats being out of touch. And nor will Trump.

In Walker’s case, his success after his first election depended entirely on the results his administration produced. If Act 10 hadn’t worked out so well, and consequently become so popular, Walker would have lost his recall election. That’s his opinion, stated in his 2013 book, Unintimidated.

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The only thing that saved Walker from defeat in that recall, he wrote, was the fact that state law didn’t allow it to begin until after he’d been in office for a full year. “If the law had allowed me to be recalled in 2011 instead of 2012,” he wrote, “I would almost certainly have lost.” There would not have been time for the reforms to work.

But because Walker’s reforms actually did work — in this case, freeing up billions of dollars for school districts and local governments around the state — the rancor over Act 10 vanished quickly. By the time of recall, it was nearly gone, and by the time of his re-election in 2014 it was completely gone. The measure had become so popular, in fact, that Walker’s 2014 Democratic challenger for governor didn’t dare campaign on repealing it. Nor will the next Democrat to run for governor.

And in hindsight, the fact that the sky did not fall but brightened in Wisconsin made all of those mass protests in Madison and griping by lefties seem all the more absurd and out-of-touch with reality.

In the end, Trump’s political success, like Walker’s, is going to depend on the success of his policies, not on some superior Republican ability to relate to people — which, by the way, strikes me as a weird idea. Trump’s and the Republicans’ future depends on whether the economy actually does take off; whether more people who left the workforce are able to re-enter and find work; whether the healthcare reform package he ultimately signs succeeds in making insurance more affordable and more useful (i.e., your nearest hospital actually takes your insurance, and you don’t have to spend $25,000 out of pocket before it kicks in); and whether his promised measures on Veterans Affairs reform, crime prevention and immigration actually have their desired effect.

Trump is now the president. As much as conservatives would like him to be judged based on the hysterical reactions he gets on the left, that’s not how it’s going to work. He’s going to be judged by the fruits of his presidency.

'Do your job': Chaffetz met by mob demanding Trump oversight

Also from the Washington Examiner

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, was met by an angry mob Thursday that demand that he use his power on the committee to start oversight of the Trump administration.

“Do your job!” the crowd chanted. Many later booed Chaffetz as he tried to explain his position.

“Give me a second,” he tried to say as the crowd interrupted, according to WKOW in Utah.

Others chanted, “vote him out.”

Chaffetz is under growing pressure to apply the same level of oversight he applied to the Obama administration to the new Trump administration. And some of that pressure is coming from Trump himself.

02/10/17 7:24 AM

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