Senate Democrats blocked legislation on Tuesday that would have given President Obama the power to grant “fast-track” authority to move trade deals quickly through Congress. (Video: Reuters)

The Post reports:

President Obama’s fellow Democrats derailed one of his major second-term priorities Tuesday, voting to hold up consideration of “fast track” trade authority unless related measures are guaranteed to proceed alongside it.
The trade legislation failed an afternoon test vote, 52 to 45. Sixty votes were needed to begin formal debate of measures that would pave the way for approval of a complex Pacific trade accord and provide relief to unemployed workers affected by trade deals.

In short, it wasn’t even close. But it’s also not the end. It may well be that the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can work out some adjustments in trade authority sufficient to assuage enough Democrats.

On one level, this is a stunning rebuke of the president by his own party on an initiative of substantial international and economic concern. And yet, one should have expected that in the 7th year of an unpopular administration, led by a president who demeans rather than persuades, a tough vote would end in defeat for Obama.

Is this a harbinger of things to come, on Iran, for example? It’s possible if the Senate really does defeat the president on the trade deal. But, following in the wake of the Democrats’ unanimous decision to support the Corker-Menendez bill on Iran, which the administration vigorously opposed until defeat was certain, the Democrats may now rediscover their role, flex some muscle and set a course different than that of the president.

One should also keep in mind Hillary Clinton’s responsibility for how all of this has turned out. She did not lift a finger to help the White House. She may have a greater appreciation of the power of the left, but that may incline her to race to positions in the primary she finds hard to live down in the general election. Her decision to ditch the president also raises an interesting possibility: Will the White House stick by Clinton in the next 18 months, protecting her from further disclosures and scandals?  That remains to be seen.

If McConnell does find a way to accommodate the Democrats it will be one more sign that the Senate can work just fine without Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in charge. Maybe the root of dysfunction has not been the GOP, but rather a stubborn and clumsy president and a party moving so quickly left that not even the president himself can keep up.

While visiting Nike headquarters in Oregon, President Obama outlined the "different kind of trade deal" he hopes to achieve through the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership. (Video: