The ill-fated 'Schumer Shutdown' officially ended last evening after nearly three fruitless days of what Democrats had heretofore labeled unconscionably reckless "hostage taking." As our previous piece mentioned, "the resistance" accomplished virtually nothing, and even the spin from their defenders was most notable for its weakness. Democrats knew they were up against a public perception issue, compounded by a messaging problem. On the former challenge, voters were not behind their tactics, and were also amenable to a number of core Republican priorities on immigration -- the ancillary issue over which Schumer and friends forced the shutdown in the first place. On the latter, many liberals were stuck in this irreconcilable gray zone:
Democrats haven't really decided between:— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) January 22, 2018
Message 1—"The shutdown is Republicans' fault."
Message 2—"It's worth shutting down the government because DACA, etc. is so important."
Instead, there's been a roughly even mix of both. And those messages sort of contradict one another. https://t.co/wjAluDgbaj
The Democratic shutdown was righteous and correct, they signaled to their base, while also trying to convince the rest of America that it was somehow the GOP's fault. This was never going to be sustainable, and many Democrats were desperately looking for the exits by the time Mitch McConnell offered them a fig leaf. They eagerly accepted it. One embittered Democratic source declared the whole misadventure a 'butt kicking,' with CNN reporting about the progressive Left "fuming." But the angriest people are lefty activist types who supported the shutdown on the merits. Katie ran through some of their reactions, but this RNC trolling is too brutal not to share:
A deep intraparty rift, bubbling beneath the surface for quite some time, is increasingly breaking out into the open. The press loves covering a party at war with itself...when that party is the Republican Party. But the Democratic civil war is starting to get quite nasty, and may turn into an irresistible storyline. Are punitive primaries and 'sit at home' boycotts on the horizon? The Bernie wing is mighty agitated:
Four of the Senators pictured are up for re-election this year in states carried handily by Trump in 2016. The last thing they need is major elements of their party's core base to refuse to campaign or vote for them -- especially if independents are starting to swing back toward the GOP. The New York Times sees trouble a-brewin':
The decision by Senate Democrats to end the government shutdown on Monday in exchange for a promised immigration vote enraged liberals, who accused the lawmakers of betrayal and threatened to mount primaries against some of the Democrats who voted yes. Regardless of what happens in the Senate, progressive and immigrant advocacy groups said House Republican leaders will never take up a bill that would offer legal status to young undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children without excruciating concessions on other immigration issues. They accused Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, and moderate Democratic senators of capitulating to protect senators up for re-election in November in Republican-leaning states...
The hasty retreat by 33 Senate Democrats was particularly humiliating in the immediate aftermath of the anniversary of the Women’s March, which saw thousands of activists reconvene in cities across the country to protest against President Trump and congressional Republicans. Liberal groups such as MoveOn.org began urging members to sign up on Monday for rallies aimed at pressuring Republicans to protect the young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers. By noon, their own ostensible allies in Congress had buckled. “The grass-roots are rightly furious with a slew of elected Democrats,” said Ben Wikler, the Washington director of MoveOn.org. “In the Obama years, Republicans learned to be more afraid of primary challenges than general elections. But Democrats are still operating as though the Tea Party is more powerful than The Resistance.”
The Republicans fear their base. The Democrats do not. Is that about to change? I'll leave you with an astute observation about frustrated partisans learning about painful limitations of being out of power, followed by an odd footnote that highlights the Democrats' total incoherence throughout their foolish shutdown gambit:
At same time, D's are learning what R's did in '10/'12: when you are in the minority, you don't get what you want! Hard to convince your base that's how it works. But, alas, that's the reality.— amy walter (@amyewalter) January 22, 2018
Feinstein warned that a shutdown would literally kill people...and just voted to keep the shutdown going, for the second time. ??— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) January 22, 2018
Parting thought: Will this backlash make a reasonable DACA deal less likely, as Democrats will be under intense pressure not to 'lose' again? What would the base think of giving Trump his wall, for instance? (UPDATE: Surprise!)