Government Shuts Down. Who Cares?

The White House and congressional leaders remained at a standstill over President Donald Trump’s demand for $5 billion for a southern border wall. Markets were down on a shortened trading day as investors grappled with the shutdown. The Dow Jones Industrial average had slid 472 points by midday, or 2.10 percent.

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, said on Sunday, Dec. 23, that the White House had made a new offer to Democrats for a funding bill that would spend more than the $1.3 billion for border security that Democrats already support but less than the $5 billion for border-wall construction that Trump has called for publicly.

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Since the Senate won’t meet again until at least Thursday, Dec. 27, Mulvaney said the shutdown could continue into the new Congress, which begins Jan. 3. Democrats, who will take control of the House that same day, will have additional leverage to negotiate with Trump in the New Year.

“I don’t think things are going to move very quickly,” Mulvaney told Fox News Sunday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said senators would be told when a vote was scheduled and that “negotiations will continue” in the meantime. The Senate next plans to meet Thursday for debate. The House has instructed lawmakers no votes are expected until at least Thursday.

What the Shutdown Means for Trump and the GOP

Of course, Democrats — who are pinning the shutdown firmly to Trump’s chest – are hoping that it will be disastrous for the President. In light of Trump’s controversial withdrawal from Syria, the surprise resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and a continued decline in the stock market, the Left hopes that a Trump induced shutdown, will only add to the growing sense that the government and the Administration are in near terminal chaos.

“This is not about the wall for Democrats. It’s not even about immigration for Democrats,” tweeted Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. “This is about denying the President a win on a signature agenda item that he promised the American people.”

But despite the wishes of the Democrats, politically, the shutdown is unlikely to hurt either President Trump or the Republican Party.

The shutdown occurred as Trump dug in his heel on funding for the wall. Trump voters want the wall, and political effects of shutdowns usually fade quickly after shutdowns are resolved. That this shutdown occurs nearly two years before the next election, merely adds to the fact this is probably a good gamble by Trump.

Polls have long shown that controlling immigration is a high priority for the Republican Party in general, and to Trump supporters specifically. In fact, according to the Washington Post, midterm exit polls showed that immigration was the second-most-important issue facing the country, and voters who thought it was the most important voted Republican by a 3-to-1 margin.

Republicans also overwhelmingly support building the wall. The most recent Quinnipiac poll showed that 43 percent of Americans supported building the wall, including 86 percent of Republicans and 45 percent of Independents. The same poll found that 52 percent of Republicans think immigration should be the top issue for Congress in the coming year.

Forcing a shutdown over the wall is not likely to gain Trump or the GOP much support on the Left, but it reinforces their position with their voters and emphasizes Trump’s commitment to keeping his campaign promises no matter what.