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.