With Doug Jones being sworn in as the Senator from Alabama the Republican grip on the levers of power is now slightly less firm. Republicans now hold the Senate with a razor-thin 51 edge over the Democrats. After only one year in office Vice President Mike Pence has already been called upon to break a tie vote in the Senate six times. In comparison over the eight years that Joe Biden served as Vice President, he did not take a single tie-breaking vote in the Senate. With Republican Senators such as Susan Collins, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, or even Rand Paul in office who are not afraid to buck the party and vote against their fellow Republicans, governing strictly down party line will only be more difficult moving forward.
With the passage of tax reform and the repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate being passed without a single Democratic vote and with midterm elections on the horizon, now is the time for President Trump to make a pivot to bipartisanship. With recent coverage of Donald Trump’s discussions concerning the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA, a number of folks on the right are concerned that Donald Trump has gone soft on immigration, but could Trump simply be making the smart pivot that is needed to put Republicans in the best place to be successful in the midterms? A bipartisan compromise that granted some form of legal status to those protected under DACA coupled with increased border security and an end to the policy of chain migration would be an improvement from the status quo and a win for the Trump administration. Following through on Trump’s campaign promise to invest in infrastructure is the most obvious place where Trump could reach across the aisle and possibly take some wind out of Democrat’s sails.
After his first year in office, President Trump has shown that he can get major legislation passed, even if it is right down party lines, what he needs to do now is show that he can get major bipartisan legislation passed. As a nation, we cannot get to the point that we only pass landmark bills into law when one party has complete control of the government. We need to find a way to conduct business even if it means working with people who don’t belong to the same political party. President Donald Trump is in a position to do that in a way that no other President ever has been. Having blown up both the Republican and Democratic parties on his way to the White House, President Trump is less beholden than almost any President before him.
As a Republican who was originally skeptical of Donald Trump core ideology, I was surprisingly satisfied with how conservative his first year in office was from a policy standpoint. Getting tax reform, reigning in regulation, and remaking the judiciary are all huge wins for conservatives, but the country is made up of more than just conservatives, and many who would not adopt that label are those responsible for putting Donald Trump in office. It is time for Trump the great deal maker to show us what he can do. If 2017 was the year of conservative victories, then 2018 needs to be the year of bipartisan solutions.
Jacob Vandever is political activist, lifelong Oregonian, and proud Oregon State graduate.