The news that President Trump abandoned Republicans to strike a deal with congressional Democrats on a three-month extension of the debt limit yielded a predictable response from his predictable cheerleaders: It was brilliant and typically shrewd for the author of The Art of the Deal to take the very first offer the Democrats made and ask for nothing in return.
Less obsequious observers on the right claimed that this was the long-prophesied moment. The seventh seal had been broken. Donald Trump was “pivoting” at last. “The pivot is real and it’s spectacular!” proclaimed Ben Domenech, the publisher of The Federalist.
In the lexicon of Trumpism and anti-Trumpism, “pivot” has many meanings. But in this context, pivot means to reach across party lines and work with Democrats, giving the shaft to his own party, or at least to the conservatives in the GOP.
Such a move has been feared by many conservatives from the earliest days of Trump’s candidacy. The former New York Democrat holds no deep love for ideological conservatism, and many of his favorite issues — protectionism, infrastructure, etc. — are more naturally part of the Democratic portfolio.
But those fears didn’t pan out at first. The president and congressional Republicans tried to mimic the Democrats in the wake of Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 and run the table, particularly on Obamacare “repeal and replace,” on a partisan basis. Unfortunately, the GOP couldn’t get it done. This infuriated many conservatives and Republicans and Donald Trump himself, and to some…
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