“But what Donald Trump doesn’t have is any democratic mandate for his policies.”
No, but the Republicans do.
The Republicans kicked the living sh**t out of the Democrats in the 2016 election. The Smart People thought they GOP would lose almost 20 seats in the House. What did they lose? Four? Six? And the Democrats were easily going to take the Senate, if I recall. I mean, Evan Bayh and Russ Feingold were sure bets, right?
The “Trump lost the popular vote” meme obscures the absolute ass-kicking the Democrats took in the 2016 election. Clinton managed to lose against the most vulnerable candidate the GOP have ever run, one who did everything possible to lose the election. Trump crumbled the “blue wall”, winning Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania for the first time in decades, and won all the “swing states” except for New Hampshire and Nevada, and damn near turned Minnesota and and Virginia red again.
Let’s be clear. There is a mandate out there. It’s not for Trump, per se; but the Republicans have one. Bigly.
There is another problem, too — the Congressional opposition to Trump is feckless. Schumer had enough political capital (because, as you correctly say, Trump himself had no mandate) to skewer one, perhaps two appointees on serious matters of questionability. DeVos he could have taken down easily. And he probably could have raised enough concerns about Mnuchin to get three Republicans to vote against.
But, instead, in an epic political miscalculation, this:
Obviously, this changed the calculus. Had he opposed two on reasonable matters, he would still be a partner in governance. Now, he’s not; he’s viewed as an unhinged tool of these REAL fascists:
So now, the GOP view Schumer (and the rest of the Dems who participated in this “deny a quorum” game) as undependable partners in governance. They can’t be trusted. So, instead of including them in matters of governance, they’ve earned the right to be ignored, marginalized, and steamrolled.
So, buckle up. Here we go.