As the stock market tumbles, the Mueller probe finale looms, and the reality of a Democratic controlled House sets in, Donald Trump is finding himself in an increasingly isolated political position. Having recklessly shut down the federal government over his inability to secure funding for his border wall, Trump's popularity is crashing and he has virtually no bargaining power left.
The Democrats, set to take control of the House in just a few days, look set to use Trump's weakened position to humiliate him even further.
In a series of idiotic moves that appeared to be orchestrated to make him look bad, Trump quite literally told the nation he would take the blame for the government shut down on live television. Speaking to Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer in the Oval Office, earlier this month, Trump declared that, “I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck -- I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”
No room left to negotiate
House Democrats — increasingly convinced they’re winning the shutdown fight with President Donald Trump — are plotting ways to reopen the government while denying the president even a penny more for his border wall when they take power Jan. 3.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her top lieutenants are considering several options that would refuse Trump the $5 billion he’s demanded for the wall and send hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal employees back to work, according to senior Democratic sources.
While the strategy is fluid, House Democrats hope to pass a funding bill shortly after members are sworn in. They believe that would put pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to follow suit. And they’re confident that their political leverage will only increase the longer the shutdown lasts — a notion that some GOP leaders privately agree with.
Given the fact that Republicans look set to deny funding in solidarity with the president (at least in the short term), House Democrats are considering several options to force them into submission. By offering a series of funding options designed to keep the federal government open when they take power on Jan. 3, the Democrats are betting the GOP caves when the effects of the shutdown start to spread. Federal employees will only work for so long without getting paid, and when vital public services stop, the Democrats believe the American people will blame Trump for it. And it seems Republicans, at least in private, agree.
While the GOP won't publicly go against the president, they will put enormous pressure on him behind the scenes to act as the situation on the ground gets worse. Trump already rejected $1.3 billion to fund fencing at the southern border, and the Democrats will not offer Trump any deal with more than that. Trump then, will be forced to climb down and take it if he wants to keep the government open, or risk putting himself in a politically untenable situation that could spiral out of control.
If Trump continues to hold the country to ransom over his wall, the GOP may decide they've had enough and jump onboard the impeachment train. There are already serious rumors many Republicans in the Senate are ready to join the Democrats in voting to impeach Trump over the findings of the Mueller probe, and more bad news could push them over the edge.
Trump's approval ratings are at an all time low (again), and with a cratering economy, Trump has nothing left to brag about. He hasn't gotten rid of Obamacare, hasn't built his wall, is presiding over a disintegrating economy, and is a huge liability to the long term prospects of the Republican Party. By shutting the government down, he is proving himself to be not only criminally corrupt, but criminally incompetent too.
Trump has only one option here, and that is to roll over and submit. He'll likely kick and scream for a few more weeks, but he won't get his wall, and he'll look even weaker when he finally crumbles.