It’s adorable when progressives fight.
“This is a bad, outrageous deal. Trump and Republicans in Congress stood with their anti-immigrant nativist base, and too many Democrats backed down, abandoned Dreamers, and failed to fight for their values.
“The fight is far from over—with days until DACA expires for all recipients and with the Senate now likely to consider the Dream Act that the vast majority of Americans support, the grassroots progressive movement is committed to mobilizing alongside Dreamers until we win.”
Lotta anger out there!
The D base is not happy: “It’s official: Chuck Schumer is the worst negotiator in Washington – even worse than Trump,” CREDO Political Director Murshed Zaheed https://t.co/OIwt6XxUEA
— lesley clark (@lesleyclark) January 22, 2018
Did the GOP *really* win the standoff? Well … yeah! Three different polls suggested they’d receive more of the blame from a shutdown; if that’s how it panned out, an already difficult midterm could have turned catastrophic. (Although it probably wouldn’t have mattered.) Bullet dodged. Meanwhile, Democrats drew a line in the sand and declared that there’d be no deal to fund the government without a deal to legalize DREAMers. Some sixty hours or so after the standoff began, there’s a deal to fund the government and no deal to legalize DREAMers. They lost. Pretty straightforward. Lest you doubt that, have a look-see at the roll call of Dems who voted to end the shutdown, noting who’s not among the yes votes. No Bernie Sanders. No Elizabeth Warren. No Kamala Harris. No Kirsten Gillibrand. No Cory Booker. All of the 2020 hopefuls were terrified of having their fingerprints on a major cave. The fact that the people with the most skin in the game politically wanted no part of the deal tells you who won and who lost.
So, what did Democrats get from this shutdown?
Here’s the full list: the perception that Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had outlasted them at the negotiating table; the understanding that Democrats will be unable to fight Republicans using a government shutdown as leverage, at least on the issue of illegal immigration; the impression that Democrats care more about illegal immigrants than military members; a Democratic base that now believes the Democrats are on the run; the impression that Democrats were responsible for the shutdown.
But it’s a minor defeat given the terms of the compromise reached between Schumer and McConnell. Progressives are pissed not because Schumer gave away anything important but because he lost *face* — to the dreaded Donald Trump, no less. That’s embarrassing. We’re going to do all of this again in three weeks, though, after funding runs out again on February 8, giving Schumer another chance to drive a hard bargain. And the next time we do it, McConnell will be on the spot after promising both Democrats and pro-amnesty Republicans that there’ll be a vote on a DACA bill sometime next month. That’s going to put Republicans in a bind, as I explained this morning. Trump wants DACA resolved, as do Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake et al, as do Democrats. There’ll be a bipartisan majority in the Senate in favor of passage. Which means one of three things will happen:
1. Senate Republican border hawks will filibuster a widely popular DREAM amnesty that has bipartisan support;
2. Senate Republicans will pass the amnesty and punt the issue to the House, where suddenly Ryan will need to figure out what to do as we approach yet another government funding deadline; or
3. McConnell will break his promise and refuse to allow a DACA vote, outraging Democrats and centrist Republicans and shifting the calculus towards the GOP on who’s to blame if a new shutdown results
The Senate passing an amnesty and tossing the hot potato to the House, where it cools and turns rotten, wouldn’t be unprecedented. That’s what happened with the Gang of Eight bill in 2013. Democrats are grumbling on Twitter as I write this that the same thing will happen this time. Right, except (a) a DACA fix will be tied to the next round of government funding, either directly or indirectly, and (b) more importantly, Trump needs a DACA fix too. The president is staring at a self-imposed deadline of March to end the DACA program; he issued that deadline four months ago to try to light a fire under Congress to address the issue legislatively. If they don’t, Trump will be stuck between two unpalatable choices, either keeping his word by ending DACA and deporting enrollees or going back on his word and extending the program further. Democrats and centrist Republicans will freak out if he chooses the first option, populist Republicans will freak out if he chooses the second. Ryan and McConnell can’t just let a Senate DACA bill die and hope everyone forgets about it, as happened with the Gang of Eight in 2013. Trump’s going to have to deal with the issue if they don’t.
And to top it all off, thanks to Graham and Flake, the next arm-wrestling match over DACA in February may mostly be one between Republicans, not Republicans and Democrats:
Now that Dems have voted to reopen gov w promise of Senate DACA vote, WH spox @RajShah45 on CNN flatly sez POTUS won't sign Graham-Durbin deal
— Julie Davis (@juliehdavis) January 22, 2018
The dilemma for Schumer is what to do in February if in fact a DACA bill dies in the Senate or the House. Sure, that’ll put Trump on the spot in terms of what to do about DACA enrollees, but it’ll also leave Schumer on the spot in deciding whether to fund the government or not. Conceivably he’ll be in the same spot on February 8 as he is now, with Republicans insisting that a government funding bill needs to be detached from immigration and dealt with separately. Is he prepared to shut down the government then? If he is, why not gamble on shutting it down now? If he isn’t, the left’s going to be even more pissed off at him for betraying them again.
Here he is this afternoon trying to soothe the savage progressive beast by blaming everything on Trump.
“The bipartisan group, in a very fine way, filled the glaring absence of the president in these talks” to negotiate a deal to reopen the government, @SenSchumer says https://t.co/z65TvL7Mz3 pic.twitter.com/XR0Bi39b3H
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 22, 2018