‘Old Politics’ Shut Trump out from the Shutdown

For once, credit is due to old politics, which ended, or at least postponed, paralysis in America. Old school Republicans reached a compromise with the Democratic opposition, thereby avoiding the so-called “nuclear option” put forward by Donald Trump. The president had pushed for a final showdown, suggesting that the rules of the game be changed and that the spending bill be approved by a simple majority.

That move would have been a double-edged sword: If November’s elections were to hand the Senate to the left, the Republicans could lose all influence over public spending. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell chose to safeguard civil relations with the opposition − against the president’s advice. McConnell pledged to find a solution to the issue involving immigrants protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which is very important to the left: The 800,000 immigrants who came to the U.S. as children essentially grew up as Americans and risk being deported to countries with which they no longer have any ties. Democratic senators seemed to trust McConnell’s promise.

Thanks to the agreement, it is now possible to buy some time by releasing funds to keep the federal government going until Feb. 8. Thus, no shutdown, and government activities resume as normal until that day. Between now and Feb. 8, the Democrats should be able to verify whether the promise concerning DACA will be kept. The Democratic Party was also certainly influenced by Trump’s media campaign accusing it of “putting the interests of illegal immigrants above those of the majority of citizens who are being denied public services.”* The senators who face re-election in November in districts where Trump won in 2016 are especially unwilling to pass for “the illegal immigrants’ party.”

Eventually though, this deadlock was resolved by an old-fashioned method consisting of bipartisan mediation, a component of the “professionalism” of a much despised political class; a class aware that today’s governing party could be tomorrow’s minority, and knows that the game has rules that must be observed and kept alive in the interest of a civilized democracy. The Trump way, i.e., acting like a CEO who gives orders and demands obedience, has been temporarily set aside. However, the match is far from over, and the early results will be visible in November, when voters elect a new Congress.

*Translator’s note: This quotation, accurately translated, cannot be precisely verified. It may be a paraphrased version of this quote from a Trump campaign ad: “Yet, one year after President Trump’s Inauguration, Chuck Schumer and the Democrats continue to put the interests of illegal immigrants over those of Americans.”

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