Trump Doesn’t Understand Consequences

Jonathan Chait, writing in New York Magazine, outlines what everyone who’s paying attention already sees―Trump bumbled his way to a government shutdown with no end game in sight, with a losing hand, and with members of his party looking to break ranks at their earliest opportunity.

The reality is that the effects of a shutdown compound over time. Government agencies can creatively stretch their budgets to mask gaps in funding, but at some point, their capacity to maintain services snaps. The relationship between the length of a shutdown and its impact is not linear. A 30-day shutdown is not ten times as damaging as a three-day shutdown. It is probably 100 times as damaging.

The impending reality of millions of Americans going hungry and homeless is just one aspect of the horrors that await us. At some point, the shutdown will impinge upon Trump’s C-suite constituency. Employees of the Transportation Security Administration have had to work without pay, but that cannot continue indefinitely. Already, employees at some airports have begun staging sick-outs. At some point, air travel will grind to a halt, and with it large segments of the economy. By next month, tax refunds will be in jeopardy.

Now this evening Trump will be given valuable television time to tell those who tune in that The Wall™ will keep us safe and those against the wall want terrorists, rapists, and drugs to come through our porous southern border. I’m sure a rebuttal is being prepared right now, but it can’t be delivered by Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Shumer. Both are important politicians, but they aren’t particularly photogenic and they aren’t speakers that inspire.

If it was up to me (and it isn’t), I’d have Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez deliver it. There isn’t anyone who gets the right’s panties in a bunch more. They fear her. They don’t understand her. She is smart, a woman of color, telegenic and will speak in a language everyone will understand. She’s the perfect foil.

January 8, 2019