The U. S. Government Shutdown: Who will Win the Message Battle?

I don’t like the idea, but I think Trump will.  His message seems stronger, which is:  The Democrats are choosing to support illegals over protecting our borders and paying our troops and building our military.  They are holding the government hostage for their pet cause the DACA dreamers, which is a separate issue from funding the government and one that can wait for awhile as the executive order protecting them doesn’t expire until March.

The essential thinking goes:  Say what you will liberals, but those people are here illegally and while we may be sympathetic (except the immigration hawks), we do not want to close the government down over this issue.

Of course, Democrats counter with the fact Republicans control the presidency and Congress so if there is a shut down it is their fault.  Also, the Republicans have had months to resolve the DACA issue, and seemed close to doing so before that “holes” meeting in the oval office blew up the chances. The Republican need for Democratic votes to pass their bill in the Senate is the only way the Democrats have any leverage on their side.

Democrats and liberal commentators also often cite a poll that roughly 80% of the population are in favor of passing DACA, all the more reason for the Dems to dig in their heels here.

Less often they point to another poll where people were asked which was more important to them protecting the dreamers or keeping the government open, and the latter got 54% or so and the former 39% or so.  In short a majority may be sympathetic to the dreamers, but not at the cost of shutting down the government and not paying our troops and strengthening our military.  To them the dreamers can wait.

With that poll in mind, digging in on DACA is easy to sell as hostage taking and the longer the situation lasts, the more it it is going to be seen that way by a majority of Americans, especially as the Republicans will hammer that point deep into our psyches.  Right now they have ads on TV blaming the Democrat softness on immigration for murders committed by illegal immigrants.  (Which has nothing to do with the dreamers, but fosters subliminal guilt by association).  Since the message is so simple and negative, even Trump seems likely to stay on it.

I love being right, but in this case I would welcome being wrong.  I would be happy to be wrong.


P. S. – A pet peeve of mine is the tendency of commentators and politicians to indicate one party or the other has “control of the senate” because they have a simple majority.  A majority means control mostly in a negative sense.  You can stop things from happening, but because of Senate rules you need 60 votes on most important matters, like the budget extension, to make something happen, i.e. to pass it.   Obamacare was passed with 60 votes exactly.  The primary reason the ACA has so many flaws is it had to satisfy the concerns of so many different Senators to reach 60.  In short, while the Republicans manage the senate now, they don’t control it as illustrated by this impasse.  Of course, they could lower all decisions to a simple majority, as they have with selecting federal judges other than the Supreme Court, but that would make the opposition party totally impotent.  Not surprisingly, the authoritarian Trump is now trumpeting that “nuclear option” in tweets.

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