There was a time, for better or worse, when politicians made concessions for gains. These times are a pipe dream, as the Democrats have moved drastically left of where they stood ten years ago. Now we find ourselves in a partial government shutdown with no signs of ending anytime soon. The Democrats claim that Trump is holding the government hostage until he gets the border wall. In doing so, they have already made large concessions of leverage.
Trump looks fairly formidable in this situation. He has the presidential veto. He has a Senate that won’t vote on anything the Whitehouse will not sign. Trump has accepted responsibility for the shutdown, eliminating much of the back and forth blame rhetoric these events have sparked in the past. Unlike in the past, when Ted Cruz bore responsibility for a shutdown, fewer people today are arguing about the blame rather than questioning the methods Trump is employing. In being unafraid of shutdown blame, Trump has given himself the advantage of indifference. Trump has employed this advantage in his preparation of a months long stalemate with the House.
While Trump has made concessions, even on the price of the wall itself, the Democrats are not striving to make gains. Instead they are seeking unconditional surrender and humiliation, forcing Trump to sign their Treaty of Versailles. Trump is not dumb enough to sign the surrender bill, though I cannot confidently say thirteen GOP Senators or so aren’t weak enough to vote for it. In fact, signing such a bill would be Trump surrendering his leverage voluntarily. Trump’s feet are taped to the bicycle. He cannot back down now, especially for 2020’s sake.
The Democrats, in contrast, could make a five billion dollar concession for numerous gains. They could fund Planned Parenthood for another decade; we know the GOP will have no trouble funding abortion. They could expand welfare. They could fund massive global warming projects and double the EPA. They could put more money towards Obamacare, Medicare/Medicaid, DoE, HUD, Social Security, and a bunch of other programs the government doesn’t need. They could fund terrorist groups and subsidize socialist regimes. Trump, believably, would sign that bill. Trump is willing to take major losses for the magnum opus of his presidential campaign. But the Democrats are unwilling to inflict such losses.
As long as Democrats have the wrong idea about what’s being held hostage, the shutdown will be of no benefit to them. They have an opportunity to collect a king’s ransom for the wall yet because of pride and unwillingness to compromise with Trump, the shutdown will look as though Trump is steadfast in his promise of a border wall, while the Democrats show what lengths they will go to to support open borders. The Democrats have the wall hostage and are willingly blind to this fact. They could demand the king’s ransom for the wall. Trump would pay the ransom. Instead the Democrats believe their future necessitates open borders to sustain their increasingly socialist voter base.
The Democrats might be holding this card up their sleeves, waiting until they’ve exhausted their demands for unconditional surrender, but the longer they hold on to it, the worse their voters may feel.
A drawn out campaign that results in a wall is far worse than a quick indecisive draw that makes the one side (Democrats) look weak but in actuality funds all but one of their priorities. But because of pride the Democrats would rather lose a political Stalingrad than a quick Antietam.