Newswise — The government shutdown greeting Donald Trump’s first anniversary as president shows how he has remade a major political party … the Democrats, argues Michigan State University political scientist Matt Grossmann.

Writing in Politico, Grossmann says that while the Republicans “are the same party of conservative brinkmanship that they were last year,” the Democrats are pursuing a harder-line strategy of unified opposition focused on social issues. “Whereas they greeted a new George W. Bush administration with cooperation on education reform and acquiescence on tax cuts, Democrats have loudly opposed all Trump administration initiatives, facing pressure from an energized base.”

Grossmann says the Republican reformation has not materialized.

“Promising to end ‘American carnage’ as he took office, Trump sought to refocus Republicans around immigration, trade and crime,” Grossmann says. “Strategists said he could move left on economic policy, targeting the party’s white working-class constituency with tangible benefits. But his first year focused instead on a major corporate tax cut and considerable deregulation, along with more failed votes to repeal Obamacare. Trump moved policy rightward on immigration, but he also did so on education, health, the environment and nearly everything else.”

Grossmann, associate professor of political science and director of MSU’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, can be reached at (517) 355-6672 or


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