I've heard the word "hypocrite" a lot lately, referring to Democrats who complained about Republicans who pledged to obstruct Obama at every opportunity and yet seem determined to do exactly the same thing with Donald Trump. It isn't the same and here is why.
1. In spite of what we heard on Right Wing Talk Radio & TV, Obama is not and never was a communist out to destroy our country. He is a centrist, committed to working across the isle, many of whose ideas actually reflected Republican ideas. Take the ACA. It was a program very similar in its most important details to a health care proposal put forward by the right wing Heritage Foundation. It was centered around the private sector and enfranchised the insurance industry. Had he truly been a leftist, Obama would have argued for Medicare for all as Bernie Sanders has done.
Trump, on the other hand, seems to be poised to blow up the entire government. He has already skirted many of the common practices of the past such as releasing his tax returns so we can all see whether his interests conflict with those of the American people. He has chosen to avoid intelligence briefings, either because he truly believes there is nothing he needs to learn or because he doesn't trust the intelligence agencies. His cabinet appointees so far seem almost all to fall into one of two categories... either they have no experience and no knowledge of the area they will be heading or they are committed to destroying the role of the very agency they will head.
2. Obama clearly fell in line with the general trajectory of history. Whether we like what he dd or not, he didn't do anything that made people go, "What?"
Even before he is inaugurated, Trump is already breaking with policies and ideas that are foundational to our security both nationally and internationally. His thoughtless actions regarding our treaties have already begun to push Asian allies towards China and he has unnecessarily provoked China by skirting the one China doctrine. His relationship to Russia is troubling at best. His calls for the US military to commit war crimes and his commitment to sidestepping accepted rules that have to do with nepotism and conflicts of interest are equally troubling.
On the national level, he is either allowing or directing the dismantling of many of the social safety nets upon which many people depend.
3. Obama knew what government is and what its role is. Trump doesn't seem to understand that government is not a business and the rules by which it operates are not the same. If his business fails, it can declare bankruptcy and at least Donald walks away unscathed. It has happened multiple times. If government fails... that is something altogether different.
4. Obama knows that when the president speaks, things happen, so he is careful about what he says. Trump has no such wisdom or he enjoys the chaos that happens when he says something unwise. In either case... it is not good.
5. Obama has a heart to leave the world a better place. You may not agree with his vision of that, but you cannot argue the point. Nothing that Trump has ever done in his entire life would indicate that he has any concerns beyond himself. There is nothing beyond his skin that he seems to truly care about beyond the way that it impacts him.
6. The best you could say about the Republican obstructionists might be that some were acting consistently with their values - that they hate the federal government and literally want it to fail so by obstructing a president as thoughtful and charismatic as Obama who began his presidency with a real mandate, they were working to that end. And now they find a kindred soul in Trump, who wants to see government curtailed not out of some political ideology but because it constrains his personal behavior.
Democratic obstructionists will be working to preserve the rights and safety nets, some of which have been in place for decades and upon which many people depend. Without those safety nets, people will die.
So... are there areas where Dems should support Trump? Say, like if he proposes working on infrastructure? I have mixed feelings. I should say that I believe he will only propose improving the infrastructure if he will personally benefit from it. Still there clearly are areas where he may see his self-interests and those of the nations align... so yes, I would argue that we work on those issues with him. But we must never allow those issues to cause us to lose sight of the other things he is doing or allowing to not be done.
If Trump and the Republicans in office work to tear apart Social Security, Medicare, and the ACA (all of which they propose to do), I will do what I can to obstruct them and call upon my representatives to do the same. I want them to fail there. If they want to tear up treaties and alliances with other nations and put the entire world at risk, I will work to obstruct them and call upon my representatives to do the same. I want them to fail. If they continue to enfranchise hate groups and normalize the kind of behavior I would punish my grandson for, I will do what I can to obstruct them and call upon my representatives to do the same. I want them to fail. If the Republicans continue their march to destroy our government by undermining trust in all facets of it, I will do what I can to obstruct them and call upon my representatives to do the same. I want them to fail. If the Trump administration actually becomes the kleptocracy I expect it will be, I will do what I can to obstruct them and call upon my representatives to do the same. I want them to fail.