Trump’s new weapon? The bully pulpit

Trump’s new weapon? The bully pulpit
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Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg on Mueller report: 'Politically, I'm not sure it will change much' Sarah Sanders addresses false statements detailed in Mueller report: 'A slip of the tongue' Trump to visit Japan in May to meet with Abe, new emperor MORE has successfully sold himself as a businessman, an entertainer and a president. Now he’s ready to market his 2017 agenda.

The president-elect is signaling he’ll use Twitter, large rallies and a sharp tongue — the same weapons that won him the election — to advance his presidency.


Trump already has millions of social media followers and an ability to dominate the media.  

Starting on Jan. 20, he will be in control of the most powerful force in politics: the presidential bully pulpit.

With a Republican-controlled House and Senate, the president-elect has an enormous opportunity to pass a slew of legislation that would could both shape Trump's legacy and torpedo at least some of what President Obama accomplished during his eight years in office.

Some Democrats believe that Trump will fail as commander in chief in spectacular fashion, which would of course help them in the 2018 and 2020 elections. But many Democrats don't grasp the potential power of Trump's White House messaging operation and what they are up against.

Republicans, for their part, are salivating at what could come next.

Many think Trump will be able to steam roll his agenda through Congress given GOP control of both chambers and the insecurity of Democratic senators up for reelection in 2018 in states won by Trump.

These members include Sens. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillBig Dem names show little interest in Senate Gillibrand, Grassley reintroduce campus sexual assault bill Endorsements? Biden can't count on a flood from the Senate MORE (Mo.), Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellySome in GOP fear Buttigieg run for governor Paul Ryan joins University of Notre Dame faculty GOP senator issues stark warning to Republicans on health care MORE (Ind.), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) Tester20 Dems demand no more money for ICE agents, Trump wall Overnight Energy: Bipartisan Senate group seeks more funding for carbon capture technology | Dems want documents on Interior pick's lobbying work | Officials push to produce more electric vehicle batteries in US Bipartisan senators want 'highest possible' funding for carbon capture technology MORE (Mont.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampPro-trade groups enlist another ex-Dem lawmaker to push for Trump's NAFTA replacement Pro-trade group targets 4 lawmakers in push for new NAFTA Biden office highlights support from women after second accuser comes forward MORE (N.D.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOn The Money: Cain 'very committed' to Fed bid despite opposition | Pelosi warns no US-UK trade deal if Brexit harms Irish peace | Ivanka Trump says she turned down World Bank job Cain says he won't back down, wants to be nominated to Fed Pro-life Christians are demanding pollution protections MORE (W.Va.). Trump won Missouri, Indiana and Montana by about 20 percentage points each. He captured North Dakota by more than 36 points and West Virginia by a margin of 42 points.

The real estate mogul, despite never having run for office, eviscerated his political rivals by portraying them as weak and beholden to Washington's “corrupt” ways.

He gave his 2016 challengers nicknames, such as “low energy” Jeb Bush, “lying” Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzBooker, Harris have missed most Senate votes O'Rourke sweeps through Virginia looking to energize campaign Disney to donate million to rebuild Notre Dame MORE and “crooked” Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton campaign chief: Mueller report 'lays out a devastating case' against Trump Hillicon Valley: Cyber, tech takeaways from Mueller report | Millions of Instagram passwords exposed internally by Facebook | DHS unrolling facial recognition tech in airports | Uber unveils new safety measures after student's killing Heavily redacted Mueller report leaves major questions unanswered MORE.

Lawmakers, most notably Democratic leaders in Congress who get in Trump's way, could get their own nicknames.

If other red-state Democrats buck his nominees and/or his agenda, don't be surprised to see Trump visit their states to drive home his points. The president-elect loves rallies, and it's a good bet that he will be traveling outside the Beltway a lot.

There are already signs that Democrats could have trouble in holding a united front against Trump’s agenda.

Manchin, for example, was the first Democratic senator to back Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMueller report shows how Trump aides sought to protect him and themselves Trump: 'I could have fired everyone' on Mueller team if I wanted to Five takeaways from Mueller's report MORE (R-Ala.), Trump's nominee for attorney general.

It’s not just Democrats who have to worry.

Trump showed he isn't shy in going after members of his own party throughout the 2016 presidential cycle. And that probably won't change in 2017 and 2018.

The conservative-leaning House Freedom Caucus and outside right-wing groups are wary of Trump's $1 trillion infrastructure proposal and want the 45th president to focus on reducing the nation's record debt levels. The Freedom Caucus was instrumental in pushing former Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerTrump appears alongside Ocasio-Cortez on Time 100 list Resurrecting deliberative bodies Trump's decision on health care law puts spotlight on Mulvaney MORE (R-Ohio) out the door, but picking a fight with Trump is another thing entirely. Most Republicans in the House don't worry about their November election — they worry about their primaries. And crossing Trump could risk a challenge from the right in the 2018 cycle.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanFEC filing: No individuals donated to indicted GOP rep this cycle The Hill's Morning Report - Waiting on Mueller: Answers come on Thursday Paul Ryan joins University of Notre Dame faculty MORE (R-Wis.) and Trump feuded in 2016, but in the name of party unity and policy, they have put aside their differences. And in a related development, Ryan's approval rating just hit an all-time high earlier this month.

After the election, Ryan said it's time for the Republican Party to “go big” and “bold.” Trump wouldn't have it any other way, though there are inherent risks with an aggressive strategy without a supermajority in the Senate.

Republicans who publicly ripped Trump are now getting in line, so muscling big-ticket items through the upper chamber using budget reconciliation shouldn't be that challenging. Those bills, such as ObamaCare repeal, would only need 51 Senate votes to pass. But replacing ObamaCare, building a wall along the southern border and clearing a Supreme Court nominee will necessitate 60 votes.

That’s where Trump's bully pulpit will come in, calling out Democrats from both red and purple states that he won on Election Day.

While Trump may not be up to speed on the nuances of the legislative process, those mechanics will be handled by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care: McConnell offering bill to raise tobacco-buying age to 21 | NC gov vetoes 'born alive' abortion bill | CMS backs off controversial abortion proposal HR 1 brings successful local, state reforms to the federal level and deserves passage The Hill's 12:30 Report: Inside the Mueller report MORE (R-Ky.) and Ryan.

Still, the fate of pending bills isn't decided by tactics. It comes down to marketing and political muscle, which play to Trump's strengths.

Trump will surely have a slew of critics of anything he wants to do. They will throw everything they have to kill his agenda.

Trump's likely response: “This bill will help make America great again. It should be passed as soon as possible.”

Democrats will need to step up their messaging game to thwart Trump's agenda. Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDem legal analyst says media 'overplayed' hand in Mueller coverage Former FBI official praises Barr for 'professional' press conference Pelosi: Barr press briefing a 'staggering partisan effort' MORE (D-N.Y.), who will be minority leader next year, had pledged to work with Trump on areas of common ground. He has also vowed to battle Trump when warranted, most notably on attempts to eradicate Obama's legacy laws.

Since the election, Schumer has called for Democrats to craft “a bold economic platform,” a clear acknowledgement that Clinton's muddled message was no match for Trump's “Make American Great Again.”