January 5, 2019

A Prediction

I am not in the habit of making predictions regarding political events. Prognostication too easily leads to embarrassment. Nevertheless, today I confidently stick my neck out: The partial government shutdown will not last a year (as President Trump suggested it could) or any substantial part of a year. You can take that prediction to the bank.

As we enter the third week of the government shutdown caused by Trump’s insistence of being granted billions of dollars—the latest number is 5.6—for construction of a wasteful and unnecessary wall on our southern border, neither the president himself nor the newly empowered Democrats seem inclined to abandon the presently held position. Trump views wall-building as the fulfillment of a major campaign promise, though he seems to have forgotten the other part of his promise, namely, that Mexico would pay for the wall. Democrats, emboldened by their electoral success in the recent midterms, are presenting a united front against funding Trump’s Folly, though not against money for “border security.” Each side believes it would be suicidal to relent.

Democrats, however, have the stronger position. The government shutdown, contrary to Trump¹s confident, yet uninformed, prattle, is not popular, particularly among those whose livelihood is being threatened by it. Moreover, Trump has gleefully taken credit for the shutdown, though he now is trying to pin the blame on the Democrats. The Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, on the other hand, have presented a picture of reasonableness, being willing to pay for border security and to accept funding priorities previously adopted by a Republican Senate.

Long before the year Trump has suggested a shutdown might last, Americans will revolt. They will insist on having their National Parks, airport security, and income tax refunds. The Trump base may stick with its champion, but Republican members of Congress will see the writing on the wall. If they continue to support the president and his infantile tantrums over wall funding, their own continued employment will be in jeopardy. Republicans will eventually have to respond to the angry cards, letters, and phone calls from Americans demanding an end to governmental insanity and a return to business as usual. Calls for money to build a wall will be few and far between.

In the end, President Trump will lose and lose big. His intransigence may itself be sufficient to make impeachment seem like the only reasonable way forward.

God save the United States of America!

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