Josh Marshall is right.
Look at the big picture. Democrats are in the same position they were a week ago. Listen to people talking this morning and you would think that Democrats surrendered on their leverage and a major point of policy and suffered a damaging political blow. Neither is true. Trump’s high-fiving Stephen Miller and talking shit on Twitter doesn’t really matter as anything more than a head game. It’s conventional bully tactics. It doesn’t move votes. It only has an impact to the extent you bring to the table an internal drama about Democratic ‘toughness’ and forget that being in the minority is hard.
Democrats have a bite at this same apple in three weeks. In practice they really haven’t given up anything. They will have the same leverage, face the same decisions in three weeks as they did over this weekend. The big news here is Democrats playing to their same pattern of reflexive self-flagellation, which generally sets one faction against another to no purpose. For those who watch politics constantly and are consumed by internal dramas and squabbles about Democratic ‘toughness’ and bad strategy, this is either a deflating defeat or a confirmation of pre-existing intra-party critiques. Democrats lost. Democrats weak, Trump strong! The reality is that very few people whose opinions of things are not set in stone are even paying attention to the optics of all this. The policy question – settling the Dreamers issue – is very important. But that remains to be decided as much as it was before. Get up, dust yourself off and realize that this is a skirmish in a larger political battle which will come to a head again in three short weeks.
What to think about all this? Think that Democrats are fighting for key policy priorities with virtually no power. That’s not easy. It won’t be accomplished in a day. That’s an honorable position not a shameful one.
More to the point, if Trump calls you a loser, do you believe him?