There’s a Good Reason Democrats Aren’t Opposing Every Trump Nominee Unanimously

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Why aren’t Democrats voting against President Trump’s cabinet nominees en masse? Is it because they’re just a bunch soft-headed Beltway lifers who don’t understand that the base is pissed and wants them to fight fight fight?

Nope. I’m sure they all get that. But there are two reasons not to do this. The first is simple: the tradition that presidents should be able to choose their own cabinet officers really is important. It’s important on its own merits, and it’s also important politically. We simply can’t get to the point where opposition parties routinely vote against every appointee for everything. That would be disastrous anytime different parties control the Senate and the White House.

But maybe this is still too wishy-washy for you. So here’s another reason: if Democrats vote against everyone sight unseen, then Republicans will vote for everyone sight unseen. However, if Democrats demonstrate that they’re considering each candidate on the merits, they have at least a fighting chance of defeating one or two of Trump’s nominees. Betsy DeVos, for example, has shown that she’s flatly ignorant of an astounding amount of basic education policy. It might be possible to persuade two or three Republicans to oppose her on these grounds—but only if the entire confirmation process isn’t a pure partisan battle.

So that’s that. There’s a principled reason for not opposing everyone unanimously, but there’s also a pragmatic reason. It won’t make a huge difference, but it might keep one or two of Trump’s worst qualified nominees out of the cabinet.

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate