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I think the partisan environment often means that at least one party doesnt feel the cost of saying NO to bargaining, only when the costs of refusing to negotiate are so steep for BOTH parties are we more likely to see effort. ( Think about recent shutdowns -- when GOP finally felt the blame, they caved).
Trumps deep unpopularity limits lawmaking in another way, first, the Democratic base shows little interest in their representatives making deals with Trump that would give President Trump credit and enhance President Trump position for 2020. NAFTA 2.0 is a prime example. Really not clear whether Democrats will get the concessions their base groups demand or the extent to which the Speaker might be dragging her heels. Either way, that trade agreement is moving very slowly. And because the president is so unpopular nationally and with independents, theres limited pressure on Democrats to resolve problems.
Its a really tough environment for lawmaking, first, the parties are surely more ideologically polarized from each other than they were decades ago. Second, theres more sheer partisanship in town than before -- tit for tat, your team is for it, so my team is against it. Third, close electoral competition narrows the window for dealmaking -- each election offers each party a chance to hold or gain control. ... [ And, ] because the president is so unpopular nationally and with independents, theres limited pressure on Democrats to resolve problems.
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