The longest partial government shutdown in American history continues, and Trump has now irrevocably lost the fight.
By a wide margin, more Americans blame President Trump and Republicans in Congress than congressional Democrats for the now record-breaking government shutdown, and most reject the president’s assertion that there is an illegal-immigration crisis on the southern border, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Support for building a wall on the border, which is the principal sticking point in the stalemate between the president and Democrats, has increased over the past year. Today, 42 percent say they support a wall, up from 34 percent last January. A slight majority of Americans (54 percent) oppose the idea, down from 63 percent a year ago.
The increase in support is sharpest among Republicans, whose backing for Trump’s long-standing campaign promise jumped 16 points in the past year, from 71 percent to 87 percent. Not only has GOP support increased, it has also hardened. Today, 70 percent of Republicans say they strongly support the wall, an increase of 12 points since January 2018.
Concerning the allocation of blame, 53 percent say Trump and the Republicans are mainly at fault, and 29 percent blame the Democrats in Congress. Thirteen percent say both sides bear equal responsibility for the shutdown. That is identical to the end of the 16-day shutdown in 2013, when 29 percent blamed then-President Barack Obama and 53 percent put the responsibility on congressional Republicans.
A predictable partisan divide shapes the blame game, with 85 percent of Democrats citing Trump and Republicans as the cause and 68 percent of Republicans pointing the finger at congressional Democrats. Independents fix the blame squarely on the president and his party rather than on the Democrats, by 53 percent to 23 percent. Women blame Trump and Republicans by a margin of 35 points, and men blame the president and the GOP by 13 points.
More Republicans want that wall, yes, but more of them are willing to say it isn't worth it to shut down the government, and definitely more of them are blaming Trump. But the biggest problem for Trump is this:
Trump has threatened repeatedly to declare a national emergency to break the stalemate and to order the start of construction of a wall, although on Friday, he retreated from his previously aggressive rhetoric by noting that he is not ready to take such a step now.
The president faces sizable opposition from the public were he to do so. By more than 2-1 (66 percent to 31 percent), Americans say they oppose invoking an emergency to build a border wall. The poll finds 51 percent say they strongly oppose such a declaration. However, two-thirds of Republicans would support the president’s decision to use those powers.
Yeah, again, Republicans are okay with a dictator as long as he's their man, but a third of Republicans aren't okay with that, and everyone else absolutely hates it.
But let's not forget that Republicans are perfectly fine with a long shutdown.
An unnamed “senior official in the Trump administration” wrote in an anonymous Daily Caller op-ed Monday that the record-breaking 24-day partial government shutdown “is an opportunity to strip wasteful government agencies for good.”
While it’s unclear how “senior” this administration official is — many senior Trump officials are still being paid, while the author claims to be “one of the senior officials working without a paycheck” — the op-ed could offer a window into another goal of this shutdown, in addition to using federal workers’ paychecks as leverage in an attempt to extract border wall funds from Congress: starving the government.
The op-ed’s author wrote that “many federal agencies are now operating more effectively from the top down on a fraction of their workforce” and that “we do not want most employees to return, because we are working better without them.”
Roughly 800,000 federal employees are currently going without pay, and millions of Americans who rely on the agencies those employees usually run — everything from the Food and Drug Administration to the Department of the Interior to the Department of Homeland Security — are going without services, except for those provided by workers deemed essential to national security or public safety.
“Now that we are shut down, not only are we identifying and eliminating much of the sabotage and waste, but we are finally working on the president’s agenda,” the official wrote, adding in conclusion: “Wasteful government agencies are fighting for relevance but they will lose. Now is the time to deliver historic change by cutting them down forever.”
The cruelty is the point.
The problem is, some of the people suffering are Trump voters, and they're finally starting to notice. But keep in mind that shutting the government down and then never restarting it was the goal all along.