A little excerpt from “Shutdowns Always Backfire—Especially on Republicans” by Manhattan Institute conservative Brian Riedl, from The Daily Beast:
President Trump and House Republicans have shut down part of the government in hopes of forcing Senate Democrats to accept $5 billion in border wall funding.
This mistake will almost surely backfire on the GOP.
…This is the fourth significant government shutdown in 25 years. During the three previous shutdowns, the party that held government funding legislation hostage to additional demands experienced a nasty public backlash that inevitably led to a humiliating surrender.
Riedl adds that “In all three cases, an intense public backlash weakened the aggressors’ hands, until vulnerable members decided to stop committing political suicide…shutdowns alienate moderates and independents. While the party’s base cheers their lawmakers’ “fighting spirit,” moderates and independents see a temper tantrum and a government held hostage…the party shutting down the government alienates the swing voters who decide elections. Approximately two-thirds of independents oppose the new shutdown.”
Riedl provides a history of previous shutdowns, all of which ended badly for its advocates. Naked obstructionism is apparently a tough sell with mainstream voters, despite the bellowing of media wingnuts, who Trump thinks speak for the majority.
In their White House meeting with Trump, Schumer and Pelosi did a good job of portraying Democrats as the party of reasoned compromise, in stark contrast to the GOP’s embattled and increasingly desperate “leader.” With the support of McConnell and lame duck Ryan, Trump seems hell-bent on branding the GOP as the party of chaos. When your adversary is engaged in political suicide, get out of the way.