Dear Democrats: Don't Cave on the Government Shutdown

Dustin Rowles | Politics | January 22, 2018

We are in Day 3 of the government shutdown, and essentially, this is where things stand: The Democrats and Republicans are no closer to a deal on immigration and the DREAMers; Trump has no idea what he’s doing and has largely been sidelined; and the general public is mostly shrugging because no one is surprised that this is happening.

Mitch McConnell plans to bring another continuing resolution to the floor in a couple hours. The bill would keep the government funded for a couple of weeks while Congress tries to figure out a solution. It seems very unlikely that a solution is either imminent or even possible, because there’s not only disagreements among Republicans and Democrats, but disagreement among the Senate and the House Republicans, and a concern among everyone that any deal that may be reached by Congress could be scuttled minutes later by the President’s Twitter account.

This was all so predictable. A dysfunctional President begets a dysfunctional government.

Will the Democrats agree to a continuing resolution? Probably enough will — the red state Democrats will provide enough votes to get the Senate to where it needs to be, and the whole thing will be punted for two weeks and we’ll go through the exact same process in February.

Should the Democrats sign a C.R.? No. Absolutely not. Why should they? Funding the government is the only leverage they have to save 700,000 DREAMers, and right now, 31 percent of the country blames the Democrats for the Shutdown, while about 46 percent blame either the GOP or Trump. The 31 percent that blame the Democrats represents the Trump base. That number is not going to change. There’s no political upside to caving. Why? Because when the midterms come around in November, on the Republican side, voters are going to remember whatever idiotic thing Trump said or did in the days leading up to the election, and on the Democratic side, voters are going to remember if the Democrats stood up for DACA.

Or, no one will remember any of this at all. In the era of Trump, it only takes one news cycle to completely erase the past news cycle. Last summer, Trump sided with f**king Nazis, and when he called African countries “shitholes” six months later, the media still had the debate about whether he’s a racist, as though that debate had not already been completely settled. Nobody is going to remember this shutdown in 10 months, but if the DREAMers are deported, Trump is going to get the blame but also the accolades from his base, while Democratic voters will feel nothing but disappointment and shame for both Trump and the Democratic party for not sufficiently standing up for the DREAMers.

It seems like a no-brainer to me to keep the government shutdown at least through the State of the Union address, because while Trump could use that speech to cast blame on the Democrats, he’s still going to be presiding over a government shutdown while Republicans control both the White House and Congress. No matter how much of that speech he devotes to shaming Democrats, he’s going to have a hell of a time convincing anyone that the State of the Union is strong if the Union is shut down, and the longer this goes on, the weaker Trump looks.

Stick to your guns, Dems. You’ve got the lives of 700,000 people depending on you. If the Republicans can steal a Supreme Court seat away from Obama, the least you can do is hold out for a week or two for 700,000 good people who did nothing to deserve being deported away from their families and into countries with which they have little familiarity.



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