Firstly, the questioner is really good. Secondly, the answer to this question is probably the key to understanding this president. He honestly believes that just being reasonable and not playing any games at all is what he should do.
And, ironically, that makes him a rather good politician. In the US's two-party system there's just no acceptable alternative to him. Will this help him win the next election? It probably does. The votes he loses on the left don't go to his opponent, but the votes he gains in the center and, frankly, on the traditional republican territory not only help him, but weaken his opponent. Also, if left voters were reasonable, they would vote for him, anyway.
Most importantly, he pushes his opponents ever more right, the more he himself moves to the right. Mrs. Merkel governs similarly here in Germany. It leads to low popularity and certain reelection.
So, I don't think being reasonable the way he understands it is the worst reelection strategy. But it makes him a bad president. For some reason he assumes that telling people to become more reasonable helps. As if voters were reasonable. Churchill was right when he said:
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.Perhaps what the US needs is a change of the political system. The current one doesn't seem to be as efficient as it has been a hundred years ago.
By the way, apparently Churchill also said:
You can always count on Americans to do the right thing — after they’ve tried everything else.So, perhaps Americans will indeed elect one of those Republican candidates. The following years could be fun to watch - from afar.
Unfortunately, as the reasonability-strategy turns into the unpopular, but rather effective become-your-opponent-to-defeat-him strategy, the country also loses something: A honest discussion of good ideas. I just read Mr. Stiglitz latest book. And I agree 80%. My guess is that the President also agrees 80%. But his reasonability-approach prevents the country from discussing good ideas. The public dabate is all about how bad/good republican ideas are, and nobody is talking about any other ideas. That's bad for America.