What Resistance? Congressional Democrats Keep Approving Trump Appointees [Opinion]

Reno Berkeley

Since Donald Trump was elected president, prominent Democrats have been leading some kind of resistance against him. But it's hard to tell what kind of resistance it is since Trump was inaugurated because several Democrats keep voting to approve his cabinet appointees.

How is approving unqualified and frightening appointees leading a resistance against Trump?

In short, it's not. Corporate Democrats have co-opted the word in an attempt to cloak their role in the erosion of our human rights, our public education, and our public services. The only consistent resistance against Trump has come from demonstrators on the streets and firebrands like Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who has vowed to fight Trump's bad choices vigorously while also acknowledging his better choices.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a supposed "leader of the resistance," has voted in favor of three Trump appointees: General John Kelly for Department of Homeland Security, General James Mattis for Department of Defense, and Rep. Mike Pompeo for the head of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Let's look at Pompeo for a moment.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Pompeo, a Republican congressman from Kansas, supports increased surveillance and wants a database that tracks Americans' financial habits and "lifestyle" details. He's also expressed an interest in foreign regime change and torture.

One must wonder why Pompeo wants to know every detail of every American's life and why he feels it is necessary. After all, there is such a thing as the 4th Amendment, which very clearly protects Americans' right to privacy.

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probably cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

The 4th Amendment is supposed to protect Americans from sweeping surveillance operations that Pompeo apparently wants. So why did Chuck Schumer and other Democrats vote in favor of this Trump appointee?

And take Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown, two more prominent Democrats who supported Trump's housing pick Dr. Ben Carson. Carson has no experience in the housing sector and believes efforts to integrate poor families into better neighborhoods is a "failed social experiment," according to the Atlantic. Carson appears to want to take HUD to a bare-bones status, as he believes there ought to be a limit to how much public assistance people should get from the federal government. And this is the person Democrats on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee unanimously approved.

The Hill reports that the senators spent only two and a half hours questioning Carson before voting to approve him, a far cry from the grilling Betsy DeVos and Jeff Sessions experienced thus far.

And while, yes, Democrats like Warren mercilessly challenged DeVos and Sessions during previous hearings, her dramatic theatrics do nothing more than emphasize the fact that both are low-hanging fruit.

Let's take a look at the Democrats' newest golden child: Cory Booker. Booker, a former mayor of Newark, New Jersey, and now a senator. His star has been on the rise for several years now, but recently his faux progressivism began to fall apart when he voted against a bill sponsored by Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar that would have allowed people to purchase prescription medications from Canada. More recently, he defended Trump's appointee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, from his colleagues' sharp questions, as The Young Turks' Jimmy Dore points out.

But that's not surprising, as Booker has long been a fervent supporter of "school choice," code words for public school privatization. While he was the mayor of Newark, he was a member of the Alliance for School Choice while DeVos was the chairwoman.

As Jacobin author Andrew Hartman points out, corporate Democrats who support Trump's appointment of DeVos mask the notion of school choice in civil rights language. Their goal, however, is to strip public schools of everything that was once great about them.

"Their aim is to undercut public schools and foster union-free charter schools, freeing the rich from having to pay teachers as unionized public servants with pensions."

There is no resistance in Democrats voting to approve anti-public education appointees. There is no resistance in voting unanimously to approve a housing secretary who doesn't support its basic tenets. There is no resistance in Democrats voting in favor of a man who believes in violating our 4th Amendment rights as a matter of course. There is no resistance in voting for regime change. There is no substantial Democratic resistance to Donald Trump.

But, whatever, right? Vive la Resistance!

[Featured Image by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]