Most Democrats want their party leaders to stand up to incoming President Donald Trump rather than work with him, says a new survey that reflects a deeply divided nation.
Nearly two-thirds – or 65 percent – of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters agreed that congressional Democrats should “stand up” to the president-elect on issues important to Democratic supporters, “even if it means less gets done in Washington,” the Pew Research Center poll found. Just 32 percent want party leaders, who are now in the minority in the House of Representatives and Senate, to work with Trump if it means disappointing Democrats.
In a sign that underscores the country’s increasing partisanship, the survey notes that the level of Democratic support for cooperating with the president-elect today is “substantially less” than was Republican support for working with President Barack Obama eight years ago.
In November 2008, when voters were generally happier with the election results, Republicans and Republican-leaning voters largely favored their party’s leaders working with Obama. Nearly 6 in 10 – 59 percent – said at the time that Republican leaders should work with Obama. Just 36 percent wanted them to “stand up” to the new president.
More than half of Republican and Republican-leaning voters, 53 percent, say Trump should work with Democratic leaders in Congress. Just 39 percent say he should stand up to Democratic leaders.
Other parts of the poll, too, pointed to a spike in partisanship: In 2008, after Obama’s first victory, 52 percent of voters who supported him said he should appoint Republicans to his Cabinet.
But only a quarter – 26 percent – of Trump voters say the president-elect should appoint Democrats to serve in his administration. Twice as many, 52 percent, say it does not matter, while 21 percent say Trump should not name Democrats to his Cabinet.
Trump’s first meeting Monday was with Tulsi Gabbard, a Democratic U.S. congresswoman from Hawaii who was one of the first Democrats to support Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Obama had sought to appoint Republicans, though several withdrew. His transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, however, was a former Republican congressman from Illinois.