When Barack Obama leaves the White House, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer will almost certainly be elected Senate minority leader — and therefore become the highest ranking Democratic official in America.
That’s a terrible roll of the dice for Democrats, because Schumer might as well have been grown in a lab to be exactly the wrong face for opposition to Donald Trump:
- Schumer, who’s just about to turn 66, grew up in Brooklyn and went to the same high school as Bernie Sanders. Then their lives diverged: Schumer, the smartiest of the smartypants, got a perfect score on the SATs and then went to Harvard and Harvard Law School. He was elected to the New York State Assembly at 23, the U.S. Congress at 29, and the U.S. Senate at 47. He’s never had any adult job outside elected office.
- He possesses the same impressive political acumen as Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, sagely explaining “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.”
- Schumer’s done more than anyone except Bill and Hillary Clinton to intertwine Wall Street and the Democratic Party. He raises millions and millions of dollars from the finance industry, both for himself and for other Democrats. In return, he voted to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 and voted to bail out Wall Street in 2008. In between, he slashed fees paid by banks to the Securities and Exchange Commission to pay for regulatory enforcement, and eviscerated congressional efforts to crack down on rating agencies.
- Schumer has long been the Democrats’ point man in efforts to craft a bipartisan deal to slash taxes on multinational corporations.
- Schumer voted for the Patriot Act in 2001, and sponsored its predecessor, the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995. During a Senate hearing, Schumer explained that “it’s easy to sit back in the armchair and say that torture can never be used. But when you’re in the foxhole, it’s a very different deal.” In certain cases, he said, “most senators” would say “do what you have to do.” Schumer also defended the New York Police Department’s surveillance of Muslims across the region, which Trump has cited as a national model.
- In October 2002, Schumer voted for the Iraq War by giving George W. Bush authority to invade. In a speech explaining his vote, Schumer warned of Iraq’s imaginary yet “vigorous pursuit of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.”
- Schumer voted against Barack Obama’s deal to limit Iran’s ability to enrich uranium and potentially develop a nuclear weapons program.
- Perhaps worst of all, Schumer gave Anthony Weiner his start, first hiring him on his staff, then encouraging him to run for office and then endorsing Weiner in the race for Schumer’s seat when Schumer was running for the Senate in 1998. Thanks, Chuck.
Are there any positive things about Chuck Schumer? Well … he did vote against NAFTA in 1993, and while he’s supported other trade deals since, he made negative noises about the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Also, he’s a talented matchmaker with as many as 11 marriages to his credit. And he’s the second cousin once removed of Amy Schumer, which you might see as good or bad, depending.