Democrats’ lesson for Trump: the art of the deal in politics
More than 30 days after the government’s partial shutdown orchestrated by President Trump, the Democrats' strategy has been to corner the White House in an attempt to demonstrate that negotiations in the Capitol are different.
When Donald Trump talked about building a border wall with Mexico during his presidential campaign, few people outside his base really took him seriously.
But, as his administration got going, the greatest fear held by opponents was Trump's dedication to complying with his radical electoral promises.
It seems that a president who keeps his word was, for the first time, a serious risk to several communities in the country.
However, after the Democratic victory in the midterm elections, the new Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, closed ranks with her colleagues in the Senate, and drew up a work plan which had as its ultimate goal, making clear to the president that he would now have boundaries.
When determining the fate of government funds, Trump crossed his arms and assured that he would not sign any proposal that did not include money for his coveted wall, taking by surprise representatives of his party who had reached a bipartisan pact in Congress to allocate money for border security, but with no funds for a fence or barrier.
Holding on to the illusory hope that Democrats would give in to his latest whim, Trump decided to shut down the government. Now, the U.S. has been unable to settle internally operating debts for over a month, with more than 700,000 federal workers going unpaid, including those in the FBI and national security agencies.
The wall then became the symbol of ego and arrogance on both sides.
Over the past few weeks, Democrats have declared that refusing to grant funds for the president's wall is a way to "discipline" Trump.
"We cannot have the president, every time he has an objection, to say I’ll shut down the government until you come to my way of thinking," Pelosi told the media. "If we hold the employees hostage now, they’re hostage forever.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “We cannot have the president, every time he has an objection, to say I’ll shut down the government until you come to my way of thinking…If we hold the employees hostage now, they’re hostage forever.” https://t.co/oVwpm1i4A2 pic.twitter.com/ZbkCS5DTtN
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) 22 de enero de 2019
The Speaker of the House was referring to the president's desperate attempts to reach an agreement with the Democrats, especially after having proposed a bill that would include protections for the Dreamers - undocumented children who arrived in the country as kids - and for some citizens under the Temporary Protection Status (TPS).
Pelosi and her colleagues insisted on bringing to the Senate floor a proposal that would open the government until the beginning of February, and that would allow not only the return to work of federal employees, but the time necessary to reach an agreement with Trump.
Both proposals failed in the voting process on Thursday, demonstrating that the president's popularity has declined due to the shutdown - even among his own ranks.
According to the Washington Post, the Democrats’ proposal had the support of Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) who "crossed party lines to vote against (Trump’s) measure.”
Although Democratic senator Joe Manchin himself crossed party lines to vote for the Republican proposal, the Republicans - and by thus, the president - ultimately lost out.
After Pelosi denied the podium to Trump for his State of the Union address in Congress, the government finds itself in a checkmate that promises to be prolonged, at least, until the special lawyer Robert Mueller has any news for us.