Government Shutdowns and the Problem with Partisans
Opinion by Lefty G
Both Republicans and Democrats appear to be feeling pretty satisfied with themselves today after passing a spending bill yesterday to end the U.S. government shutdown.
The message from both camps seems to be that shutting down the government was regrettable but necessary and there certainly wasn't anything that their side could have done to avoid it anyway. Both Republicans and Democrats seem to feel that they can safely lay the blame for the whole debacle at their opponents doorstep.
Republicans have been working hard to paint a picture of Democrats holding the government hostage in order to protect dangerous "illegals." The Democrats meanwhile point to Trump's jello-like consistency, first saying he would sign a DACA deal, and then reneging when presented with a bi-partisan deal to sign. They contend that the only way to get any kind of commitment regarding the Dreamers from Trump was to shut down the government.
Unsurprisingly, partisans from both sides are eating up these explanations; posting bitter recriminations of their opponents on Twitter, blithely unaware that the hyper-partisan environment they contribute to is perhaps more to blame for the political stalemate than anything else.
Keep in mind this is not the first government shutdown in recent history. In October 2013, during the Obama administration, the government was shut down for 15 days stemming from a Republican desire to defund Obamacare.
Prior to 2013 there hadn't been a government shutdown in 17 years. Now there have been two significant government shut downs within 5 years.
...partisans from both sides are eating up these explanations; posting bitter recriminations of their opponents on Twitter, blithely unaware that the hyper-partisan environment they contribute to is perhaps more to blame for the political stalemate than anything else.
We have entered a season of partisan paralysis. Pointing fingers only worsens the problem. There can be no doubt that the ideological divide between the Democrats and Republicans is a wide one, but there are narrow points where bridges could be built.
Trump has sent mixed messages on DACA but he does seem to have a genuine desire to make a deal. After all, this is a President who prides himself as a deal-maker. He just needs to successfully tune out hard-liners like Stephen Miller long enough to get the deal done.
For their part, the Democrats need to keep the lines of communication open and keep trying to work with this administration no matter how frustrating it might be. From their perspective the important thing is to protect the Dreamers from deportation. Shutting down the government only works to the advantage of obstructionist voices like Miller who will oppose any deal protecting Dreamers.
There are still 10 months to go before mid-term elections. Hopefully, politicians from both parties will try to get some serious work done during those months instead of just posturing and trying to make the other side look bad.