Now that we’re into the longest government shutdown in history, it’s worth trying to imagine how this is supposed to end. In a normal GOP administration, the constant media pressure would gradually peel off enough Republican votes that the President relents, or enough Republicans flip to allow an override of his veto, ending in Republican defeat for whatever issue prompted the shutdown in the first place.
But this isn’t a normal GOP administration…
The “Chuck and Nancy” show ended at best as a stalemate, and at worst, the Presidential response that launched a thousand memes. The Democrats seem to think that they have the whip hand, and that normal Republican processes will lead them to fold. Why else would Pelosi declare the wall “immoral,” seemingly cutting off any ability for her to compromise? We’ve already seen cracks on the Republican side by the usual suspects, right on schedule.
However Trump is Trump. In negotiations, he cultivates a madman image for a reason. And as he clearly showed during last year’s Democratic shutdown, he can skillfully maneuver when motivated. Maybe another tactic is required…
So here’s my suggestion to the Democratic leadership. I ask for no money, only praise as one of the greatest peacemakers of all time; a small thing to ask IMHO. Offer Trump the 5 billion he asked for, but require that it be fully funded by tax increases. Send the bill from the House with 5 billion and a tax increase from whatever source, an income tax surcharge, a tax on carried interest, a federal gas tax increase; whatever the Democratic zeitgeist feels like taxing at that particular moment.
This is a true compromise. Trump gets the wall (or a down payment on one) and Democrats get to stick it to Republicans by forcing them to have a vote either for a wall and a tax increase, or no wall and no tax increase. Although in Trumpland that sounds like a win that Trump can live with, in Freedom Caucus land, that’s a tough vote. A lot of these guys hate tax increases but really love illegal aliens, but have to pretend publically that they are for “strong border security,” a canard that has zero real meaning without actual physical barriers. This actually could lead to the Republicans killing the wall.
As for me, I’m more than happy to have tax increases pay for needed government expenditures (it beats deficits) but I realize that’s not a universally shared sentiment on the right. How attractive this seems to the Democrats is directly related to whether the Democrats think that Trump and the GOP are likely to crack. I don’t know the answer to that, but if we’re still wondering this a month from now, then this compromise idea might start to look really good to the Dems.