Why the Democrats lost their nerve in the shutdown battle

A survey of red-state voters conducted last month by the Senate Majority PAC, which aims to elect Democrats to the Senate, showed that 48 percent of respondents would blame them for a shutdown, compared with 39 percent who said the fault would lie with Trump and the Republicans.

Other Democrats also felt uncomfortable with the shutdown being defined purely as an exercise to address the concerns of the dreamers. Beginning Sunday and into Monday, Senate Democrats began to try to tweak the terms of the debate and spoke of other issues driving their stance, such as efforts to secure disaster aid or expand community health centers.

Searching for silver linings, some argued that what their liberal base saw as capitulation was actually a sign of something the Senate has not experienced in years — bipartisanship.