On Saturday, January 19, President Donald Trump came out with a proposal. His speech outlined a plan, where essentially he is trading temporary protections for DACA and Temporary Protected Status people. These would be for three years. In exchange, he wants his wall. Mind you, the wall is permanent.
This is Trump’s idea of negotiation. He is not a believer in what would qualify as actual negotiations. This usually involves sitting down with the other side. Reportedly the deal was hammered by Jared Kushner, Vice-President Mike Pence, and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, all Republicans. Talks with Democratic leadership collapsed over nine days ago.
Now, most people familiar with how negotiations normally happen will easily recognize negotiating with your own side does not qualify. However, this is exactly what Trump considers being strong. His version of the art of the deal is to get everything he wants and crush the other side.
Trump has no problem with the shutdown either, except for the polling. His offer, if you dare call it that way, is meant to change the dynamic. He wants the American people to blame Democrats for the shutdown. Mind you, he did not get them involved.
The negotiations on how he got Mar-A-Lago are instructive. This is key from Art of the Deal:
I first looked at Mar-a-Lago while vacationing in Palm Beach in 1982. Almost immediately I put in a bid of $ 15 million, and it was promptly rejected. Over the next few years, the foundation signed contracts with several other buyers at higher prices than I’d offered, only to have them fall through before closing. Each time that happened, I put in another bid, but always at a lower sum than before.
In the end, he got it, at basement prices.
This is the exact same dynamic at play, with a very small variation. He offered something, as minor as it is. What the president is facing though is a group of people who are not going to reward him.
Polling will be key.
However, so will be the federal workforce. They are about to miss a second paycheck. Unlike Trump, and to be fair most of Congress, these workers are facing financial ruin. They live paycheck to paycheck. They cannot afford this. So what happens when they decide to walk off the job? Well, for starters Americans will notice.
It’s not because most of us are affected by the Bureau of Prisons, or are directly knowledgeable about medical research. But many of us to fly. If TSA walks off the job (and rumors are floating that this will happen, soon,) this could bring air travel to a standstill. If you have air traffic control do the same, this could land all traffic.
Consider this, the president claims he wants to protect the border. What happens if the Border Patrol refuses to come to work? How about Customs? If they stay home, this could stop port of entry operations. Can you imagine the economic cost of your fruit cannot be inspected? These losses will be measured in millions. They already are measured in millions. However, it has not been obvious to the average American.
The president is putting national security at risk. It is that simple.
For the moment, if you can afford it, support your local food bank, or diaper bank. Federal workers need that help. Incidentally, we know people personally affected. We are helping them. Why? This is a man-made disaster. It will affect all of us. We expect an economic contraction.
Why? Because the president’s idea of compromise is to utterly destroy the other side. Nor does he care about the workers who are getting hurt, severely. The government needs to be opened, for all our sakes.
Oh and bringing this plan to the Senate, as the Majority Leader said he would, is likely to fail. He needs sixty votes to bring it to pass. I understand the strategy, as Republicans try to change the polling dynamic. It is time to bring the clean continuing resolution his body passed in December by veto-proof majorities. The government needs reopening in order to diminish the damage already done. It is also time for McConnell to step down if he cannot fulfill his duty under the constitution.