Democrats spent more time sitting than standing as President Trump delivered the State of the Union. Toward the end, when the crowd filled the chamber with chants of “USA, USA, USA,” Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., hoisted a metaphorical progressive banner as he marched out of the chamber in protest.
Trump reached across the aisle repeatedly during the hour-and-a-half address. Progressives like Gutierrez didn’t even hide the fact that they were slapping it away.
Not all Democrats were so sullen though. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., clapped a couple times and some senators in his conference even stood for the occasional applause line. No one can blame them for not cheering louder. After all, it is the job of the minority to check the majority. The resistance from Gutierrez and company was different.
Normally, progressives like trillion-dollar infrastructure projects. But they would rather rip up any check that comes with Trump’s signature.
Historically, progressives have championed a permanent solution for the so-called "Dreamers," immigrants brought to this country illegally as children. But they are already balking at any amnesty deal.
Generally, progressives are willing to negotiate at least at the margins of a Republican agenda. But they see anything less than a complete and total scorched-earth strategy as unacceptable.
Shortly after exiting the chamber, Gutierrez summarized his position. “I was hoping to get through my life without having to witness an outwardly, explicitly racist American President,” he wrote in a statement. “My luck ran out.”
With that, Gutierrez managed to do something normally quite impossible. By writing off compromise completely, barely a week after the government shutdown, the progressive has made Trump look like the good-faith, honest adult in the room.