Democrat Bold Fold Shifts the Pressure Onto Trump and His GOP Enablers

Well, the # TrumpShutdown aimed Monday with no DACA deal, and the Democratic base is understandably furious. But this is the beginning of the fight for immigration fairness and the DREAMers , not the end. And Democrats actually got some things out of round one.

The deal struck by Senate moderates–a new” gang of 30 “ if you will–reopens the government, preventing misery and financial strain for thousands of federal employees. It also procures a “promise,” for what that’s worth, from Mitch McConnell to allow open, bipartisan negotiations on an immigration bargain to be voted on by Feb. 8, when the current funding bill expires.

That may not sound like much, and any Democrat who wants to run for president in 2020 was smart to vote against it, but the bargain is actually more than it appears to be. Here are three reasons set out above 😛 TAGEND

It freed 9 million children the GOP was holding hostage

Monday’s deal took the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, off the table. On Thursday, South Dakota Republican Sen. Mike Rounds made an interesting admission to NBC’s Chuck Todd about the program that Republicans had cynically allowed to run out of money virtually three months ago.” Under the current proposal ,” Rounds said,” CHIP is now off the table because it’s been extended for a period of six years. And so then what is the next bargaining chip that brings Democrat to the table ?” That’s exactly where the GOP procures itself now. As one blogger at the Daily Kos cleverly put it: Dems free 8.9 M child hostages from kidnappers; 690 K adults still being held as negotiations continue.

Without CHIP in the mixture, as Eric Boehlert pointed out on Twitter, the next round of negotiations will be “clean” from a messaging point of view in that it will be all about the DREAMers. No longer can McConnell, Paul Ryan, the Trump administration, and other Republicans claim that Democrats are harming “our” children for the sake of ” illegal immigrants “– the outrageous and sub-rosa racist frame adopted by the GOP during this past week’s debacle.

It sets McConnell on the spot

McConnell is now on the hook to follow through on the deal he made. Sure, it would elude his demonstrated proclivity for hyper-partisanship and plain old chicanery to do so, but unlike past instances like health care or the tax bill or the stolen Supreme Court seat where he could lock Democrat out of the room with impunity due to the 50 -plus-1 vote threshold available to him, in this case the 60 -vote rule applies. If McConnell goes back on his term, the consequences would be a second shutdown, with Democrats having demonstrated a willingness to let it happen.

And with activists already steaming mad at the Democratic moderates, the next shutdown would almost certainly be long and brutal, with Democrats risking primaries if they didn’t stick it out.

Moreover, polls consistently proved that most voters–nearly half–blamed Donald Trump and the Republican for the shutdown, while less than 1 in 3 blamed Democrats. Even Trump, per The Washington Post , apparently realized that he was getting blamed( he loves Twitter so surely he saw #TrumpShutdown trending ), and was unsure of “what were doing” about it. Which brings us to reason number three that the current situation is better than Democratic activists think.

It’s now Trump and the crazy right vs. everyone else

All of the reporting heading into the shutdown built it plain: Donald Trump caused the shutdown by suddenly backing out of a deal with Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin at the behest of thirtysomething alt-right-ist Stephen Miller and increasingly sinister White House chief of staff, John Kelly. Joe Scarborough even made a point of mocking Trump as being” led around” by Miller Monday morning. Trump then waffled on “what were doing”, sink into a mood, and evidently played no part in aiming the crisis. In the meantime, his re-election campaign put out a cartoonishly racist Willie Horton-style ad that further isolates him.

Democratic leaders clearly understood that the longer the shutdown went on, the more the racialized, manipulative” us vs. them ,” military vs.” the illegals” framing by the GOP stood a chance of firing up the Republican base. And stimulate no mistake: The more fired up the base became, the less likely spineless Capitol Hill Republicans were going to be to make a DACA deal. By getting out now, Democrat preserve their bargaining posture on Dreamers with the other side uncovered for trying to conflate them with a supposed criminal horde.

In round two of this fight, everyone will know that Trump is a bit player. He is too poor a negotiator to get the things he wants and that he promised his xenophobic base. Even his new golfing buddy Sen. Graham has made it clear that there will be no bill ending so-called chain migration( better known as family reunification that creates community ties and stability rather than loneliness and isolation among immigrants that would actually build them more susceptible to extremist indoctrination , not less ).

There is very likely to be some form of DACA deal in the Senate, since Republican have already is going on record saying they’re for it, and Trump can’t do anything to prevent it. And if the Senate comes up with a bill broad enough to pass by a veto-proof majority, it won’t matter if Trump wants to veto it. He can go play golf or hang out at Mar-a-Lago and take Tom Cotton along and no one will care.

The real action now moves to the Senate, the House, and the street. The questions on the table:

Can Senate Democrat deliver for a base whose demands are now on level 10?

Will activists bide engaged and keep pushing Democrat to make a morally acceptable deal?

Does Paul Ryan have the intestines to stand up to what’s sure to be a right-wing media full freakout and set a popular immigration bill on the floor and wave the ridiculous “Hastert rule” so Nancy Pelosi can do his job for him and provide enough votes for it to pass?

And do Republican voters stay home in droves if it passes and Trump signs it into statute?

In short, buckle up. It’s going to be a long war.

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