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Chuck Schumer Prepares Conciliatory ‘Big Tent’ Approach for Trump Age

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will have a tall order in the next months opposing President-elect Donald Trump’s efforts to dismantle signal parts of his predecessor’s legacy. And if the first signs are a good indicator, he’s playing nice with his fellow Senate Democrats in order to hold the caucus together.

“This is one of Chuck Schumer’s real strengths. He believes in a big-tent approach,” Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, who will the Senate Dems’ policy and messaging arm, told Politico. “He likes to brainstorm and hear from everyone so he feels he can make the best decision.”

To that end, Schumer is assembling the biggest leadership teams in recent memory, spanning the gamut from left wing populists like Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to blue dog Democrats like West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. When the leadership team meets every week, more than a dozen Senate Democrats are set to be in attendance. Half of the slots have been reserved for women.

According to the Politico story, Schumer wants to find common ground with Republicans when possible shore up vulnerable Democratic incumbents such as Manchin, many of whom will be in the next midterm elections. During the lameduck session, he aided Manchin in holding up a spending bill that did not include federal monies for retired miners, a large constituency in West Virginia.

Sanders, the caucus’ new chairman for outreach, praised Schumer’s Capitol Hill strategy, but cautioned that it had to be accompanied by a strong play to the grassroots. “Obviously what happens inside the Beltway is enormously important and we have got to fight for progressive legislation here,” he told Politico. “But we are not gonna be successful unless we rally millions of people to demand that Congress start representing all Americans and not just the 1 percent.”

Contact Daniel J. Solomon at solomon@forward.com or on Twitter @DanielJSolomon

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