Chuck Schumer is in a spirited mood. "This is going to be one of the biggest fights of the next three, four months," the Senate minority leader said recently of the coming debate over tax cuts. "And Democrats are ready for it."
No doubt they are. But the relevant question is: Does their readiness even matter? Last month Mitch McConnell said he planned to bring taxes to the Senate floor under the budget reconciliation procedure. That would bypass the filibuster. The bill could pass by majority vote. No Democrats required.
And Republicans are unlikely to experience the defections over taxes that doomed them on health care. The health bill was a mess, a product of Republican confusion and infighting. There is no such uncertainty toward cutting taxes.
This is not to say that a cut is a done deal. Congressional Republicans may find a way to screw up. Fumbling the ball at the one-yard line is a specialty of theirs. But the prospect that GOP incompetence may rob the Trump administration of another legislative victory only underscores the fundamental point: Chuck Schumer's big words to the contrary notwithstanding, the Democrats are irrelevant to the power equation in Donald Trump's Washington.
That equation consists of five variables.. none is called (D).