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National Journal: Meet the New Bridge Between Democrats and Donald Trump

The National Journal writes,

But the bipartisan talks seem imperiled even in their infancy. Schrader, a member of both the Blue Dog and New Democrat coalitions, said he is known for working with Republicans but many in his district don’t want him to work with Trump. Rebuffing the president is easier given his extremely partisan posture on some issues—for instance, the administration’s move this week banning the Environmental Protection Agency from using the words “climate change,” Schrader said.

“He makes it easy not to work with him, because he’s wrong on so many issues that are important to so many Americans, whether it’s the budget, immigration, health care,” Schrader said. “That shows how little experience and knowledge he has of dealing with real people and particularly people in this legislative body.”

Schrader added that he also thinks the efforts may ultimately be fruitless because Trump does not know policy enough to negotiate: “The emperor really has no clothes. He has no substance.”

Read the whole article here.

National Journal: Trump Tries Outreach to Moderate Democrats

The National Journal writes,

Rep. Henry Cuellar said White House staff reached out Monday to him and some individual members of the Blue Dog Coalition and the New Democrat Coalition, two groups filled with moderate and conservative Democrats, many of whom represent swing districts and have reputa-tions for working across the aisle.

“His congressional-affairs folks have reached out to us and they’ve invited some of us to the White House to meet with his legislative director [Marc Short],” Cuellar said. “If it was Trump, we should give him the courtesy. But when, with all due respect, it’s a staffer, I think he needs to come to us. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to reach out to him and say, ‘Hey, if you want to come and talk to us come over to the Congress.’”

Cuellar, a Blue Dog co-chair, said he hopes to set up a meeting for sometime next week. However, he added that he and his fellow members view the invitation with suspicion. Firstly, he said they aren’t sure if the offer is sincere.

“I don’t know if he’s using us as a pawn,” he said. “When they said, ‘Maybe we’d be willing to work with Democrats,’ was that a way to say, ‘Hey, tea-party folks, straighten up or we’re going to work with them’? Or was he really sincere that he wanted to work with us? We don’t know.”

Read the whole article here.

Washington Post: Even a Democratic congressman has to answer for Trump

The Washington Post writes,

Freshman Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) held an impromptu question-and-answer session at the Land & Sea diner here Sunday morning, scrapping his plan to have only one-on-one chats with constituents. He answered queries from a crowd of more than 100 people, compared with the roughly 15 who typically come for coffee and eggs early on Sundays, local police said. And the event lasted 45 minutes longer than intended.

The presentation by Gottheimer, who beat seven-term Republican congressman Scott Garrett last year, reflected the balancing act confronting both him and his party as it looks to win back the House majority in 2018: acknowledging the rising fury among its base voters while also courting Trump supporters in swing districts like his own.

“I’m calling balls and strikes,” Gottheimer said. “When I see an abhorrent move by this administration, I speak out. But when I see areas where we can work together — infrastructure, those types of things — we have to talk to Republicans.”

Read the whole article here.

Washington Examiner: The Democrats’ diversity challenge

Salena Zito writes in the Washington Examiner,

“If the Blue Dogs do not have a seat at the table, and if they do not rebuild, the Democrats will never hold the majority again,” he said bluntly.

Strother added that if there is a progressive purity test, “Then we will be in the wilderness for the next forty years,” he said.

“I think the Blue Dogs have to be revived and respected this cycle. There will be a test. If the party does not back the incumbent Democrat Blue Dog in the primary then the Democrats will have a big problem for a long time.”

“We can’t become so ideologically pure that we push moderates into the GOP … because that is what we are doing right now,” he said, adding that the party that holds onto the middle is the party that will govern.

Strother believes that the DCCC must back the incumbent Blue Dogs overtly during the primaries to send a message that the party does want a bigger tent.

Read the whole column here.

Roll Call: Newest Blue Dog Sides with GOP on Repeal of Midnight Rules

Roll Call writes,

Gottheimer received the Blue Dog PAC’s endorsement during his campaign against Republican Rep. Scott Garrett last summer. A former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton, he campaigned as a fiscal conservative and social moderate.

In one of the Democrats’ few bright spots on election night 2016, he upset Garrett by 4 points in northern New Jersey’s 5th District, which both Donald Trump and Mitt Romney narrowly carried. He over-performed Hillary Clinton, who lost by 1 point here, according to Daily Kos Elections.

Read the post here.