Both Pelosi and Schumer have since repeated the phrase “Trump Shutdown,” but it’s not actually the most accurate description of what’s going on. This is really the Republican Shutdown, or maybe the Grand Old Party’s Dysfunctional Moment, and it’s vital that we be clear about what is going on.
If Senate Republicans decided to pass the original version of the bill before Trump intervened, it would likely pass in the House and place immense pressure on the President to end the longest government shutdown in US history. And should he veto the legislation, two-thirds of the House and Senate could override it. Republicans would have to show where they stand. Would they support the President and the ongoing shutdown or work with Democrats to reopen government?
Shifting the narrative is crucial. Democrats are not having much luck changing the mind of a President who does not respond to ordinary political incentives and has no interest in governance. In many ways, negotiations with the legendary deal maker are a lost cause.
So the only real pressure point that can break the logjam without legitimizing this form of hostage-taking governance is McConnell. It is time for political organizations, red and blue, to mount a major campaign in the days ahead to build pressure on the GOP to pass a spending bill. It needs to be clear that if they don’t, there will be a price to pay at the ballot box.
The news media also needs to move some of its coverage away from the Oval Office and back to Capitol Hill. Reporters need to make clear the power and responsibility of McConnell, the silent man in the room.
Until this happens, the nation is suffering through the Republican Shutdown, and once again the GOP shows that there is no daylight between the party and President Trump.