Despite the best efforts of the Democrats, US President Trump’s picks for cabinet posts appear to be edging towards confirmation by the Senate, with what has turned out to be his most controversial appointment, Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, finally clearing approval by the relevant Senate committee.
The difficulties Sessions ran into during his confirmation hearings was something of a surprise, with most expecting that the hardest ride would be faced not by Sessions but by Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State. It seems that the Democrats decided to take a stand against Sessions on the strength of past controversies, which have resulted in claims of his taking racist positions either out of conviction or expediency.
I have to say that one possibility which has also occurred to me is that the Democrats have deliberately held up Sessions’s confirmation in order to create problems for Trump by disrupting enforcement of his various Executive Orders and other decisions. I have already spoken of the insubordination of acting Attorney General Sally Yates in connection with Trump’s ‘travel ban’ Executive Order, and quite possibly there have been other examples that have attracted less attention.
In my opinion what the intense opposition of the Democrats to Donald Trump’s cabinet picks is doing is firming up Trump’s support both within the Republican Party in Congress, and amongst voters who backed him in the election. According to RT an opinion poll shows a plurality of voters – and more importantly a clear majority of Trump voting Republican voters – supporting the ‘travel ban’ Executive Order.
Donald Trump remains a deeply polarising figure, just as he was in the election, attracting intense support and hostility in almost equal parts.
However as he showed in the election, he both understands his electoral base and his opponents, whereas his opponents so far show little understanding either of his electoral base or of him.
The result is that as he presses ahead with his agenda, and continues to draw dividing lines, his opponents repeatedly play into his hands.