Ahead of the government shutdown deadline on Dec. 21st, President Donald Trump is due to meet with Democrat leaders in an attempt to avert the funding crisis. It remains perfectly clear what Trump is demanding: funding for the southern U.S. border wall. But quite what the opposition party is after appears to be a shifting, ephemeral enigma that is rooted in soundbites and dog-whistles.
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has declared the building of a wall “immoral,” and has resoundingly rejected the idea that it will get support. She said:
“… most of us, speaking for myself, consider the wall immoral, ineffective and expensive. And the president said he promised it. He also promised Mexico would pay for it. So even if they did, it’s immoral still, and then they’re not going to pay for it.”
At a recent rally in Kansas City, Missouri, the president accused the Democrats of playing political games with the safety and security of the nation. Some may accuse him of trying to pass off the responsibility with his statements, but this politicking is not just a Trump issue; Democrats have also engaged in the same talk of posturing and political blame games.
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), said, “We do not want to let a Trump temper tantrum govern our policies or cause the shutdown of a government, which everyone on both sides of the aisle knows is the wrong idea,” and that if Donald Trump “wants to shut down the government over Christmas over the wall, that’s his decision.”
Both Schumer and Pelosi seem united in their insistence that although they would be willing to agree to some funding for “a fence,” neither would back a concrete wall as envisioned by the president.
Democrat demands include:
- A criminal justice reform bill.
- A “save Mueller” bill.
- Measures on handling sexual harassment complaints within Congress.
But what will they be willing to give in return?
It may not appear much in the media nowadays, but the DACA issue is still unresolved. The Trump administration has offered a pathway to citizenship for all DACA recipients in return for border wall funding, yet the Dems have refused. Are they not billed as the party that cares about migrants? Perhaps this moniker is no longer valid.
In fact, it seems unlikely that Schumer, Pelosi, et al., are willing to compromise on anything whatsoever. While some die-hard fanatics may consider this a brave and principled stance, it ignores the fact that the government will be in an effective deadlock if neither side is willing to cross the aisle.
Those who are getting set to blame the president for the impending shutdown are blindly refusing to see that Trump is willing to compromise on almost every issue except one, whereas the Democrats are unwilling to take a single step towards a solid resolution. But how will it play out in the media, and who will receive the lion’s share of the vitriol?
In the end, this will all come down to optics. Who “looks” like they have won? Will it be the president getting a minor chunk of funding for various security measures at the border, but with a proviso that not one meter of concrete structure is built? Or will it be the Democrats, who will declare that they have saved “American Justice” in the form of Robert Mueller … despite the fact that no one has seriously suggested scrapping the investigation.
It is all too clear that a large portion of the media is already setting up tents in one particular camp. And once again, the real losers will not be the president or the Democrats, but the American people who are subjected to partisan hacks doing all in their power to persuade viewers that their chosen warrior is both righteous and victorious.