How Schumer Held Democrats Together Through a Health Care Maelstrom

Now that Democrats have defeated a major plank of the Republican agenda, the question is whether that success will drive President Trump and the Republican leadership to the negotiating table — and whether Mr. Schumer can keep Democrats who are up for election in red states in line and safe from defeat next year.

While Republicans have spent the last six months enmeshed in internal squabbling, Mr. Schumer has largely made sure Democrats stood on the sidelines. Mr. McConnell cut out Democrats on Day 1 of this Congress, using every method to bypass them on deregulation votes, cabinet confirmations, a tax overhaul and health care policy.

“That has had a big impact,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California. “If you leave out a whole political party,” she said, “and then you chasten them for not helping, well, that unites that party.”

Yet Democrats give Mr. Schumer — song-belting, frequently badgering, endlessly frenzied — credit for his tireless attention to senators from every faction, and for quiet outreach to Republicans who he thinks could be partners down the line.

He has worked carefully — far more than Mr. Reid, many Democrats agreed — to be almost relentlessly inclusive, talking with them at all hours of the day, over every manner of Chinese noodle, on even tiny subjects, to make them feel included in strategy. Recently, as he sat in a dentist’s chair waiting for a root canal, he dialed up Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut to talk about a coming judiciary hearing concerning Donald Trump Jr.

“I think he makes it look easier than it is,” Mr. Blumenthal said about Mr. Schumer.

Mr. Trump’s election stunned him.

Mr. Schumer’s original plan after the election was to find a way to work with his fellow New Yorker on issues where he thought they might align, such as an infrastructure bill.

“I take what’s given…

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