Building a Government Shutdown to Build a Wall

Some historical, political, and framing considerations for handling the looming shutdown battle in Congress over wall funding .

The first thing to remember from history is that voters will forget about any ongoing government shutdown within a few weeks (or, if there is a shutdown in September, a few days given the mesmerizing acceleration rate of recent news cycles) because essential government functions that are noticed by the public will remain up and running.

Keep in mind Republicans shutdown the government in 2013 after it was left devastated in 2012 by Romney’s loss, underperformed in that year’s Senate races, and was trembling in terror at the specter of Hillary Clinton’s “inevitable” 2016 political war machine.  In 2014 the shutdown had been forgotten and the GOP soundly recaptured the US Senate with a total of 55 seats.

Furthermore, whatever short term dip in popularity the Republicans suffered in 2013 was on account of their acting as obstructionists.

This time the obstructionists will be the Democrats, and Trump would be well-advised to point out the parliamentary fact that the shutdown is the fault of the Democrats.  The holdup of the budgetary legislation would not be Trump’s fault.  It will be the fault of Democrats for blocking the bill from coming to a vote.

By framing the debate that this is a Democratic shutdown Trump will maximize his pressure on the Democrats to fold.  Trump should especially call out by name vulnerable Democratic Senators in 2016 for their obstruction of the budget.

Trump should also use his discretion to withhold more pay from non-essential government employees than usually have their checks withheld in shutdowns to make the 4th Branch bureaucrats the Democrats represent put pressure on their own party to fold.

Trump already has more to gain than lose through a shutdown.  Among the reasons he stands to gain is that a shutdown will lead to yet another hysterical media overreaction (at what point does the public become overwhelmed with one master hysteria after another until they psychologically tune out the media’s hysteria completely?  We must be getting close to that point).  Also, the odds favor that whatever polling hit he takes the day the government shutdowns is likely to be temporary.

By taking this suggested hardball framing measures Trump stands to gain even more.


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