Strategy of the President and How Republicans Don’t Seem to Get It

Listen to the audio version of this article featuring editor-in-chief Matthew White

President Trump has successfully stood his ground and denied Democrats funding for any of their cherished social programs if he doesn’t get his wall. Consequently, the government is experiencing its longest shutdown in history. But the president seems to be carrying out an act based on a presidential strategy that is apparently too complex for his friends in the Senate to comprehend.

Our first subject of conversation is Sen. Lindsey Graham’s recent comment regarding the reopening of the U.S. government. Here is his official statement:

“Before he pulls the plug on the legislative option, and I think we’re almost there, I would urge him to open up the government for a short period of time, like three weeks, before he pulls the plug, see if we can get a deal,” Graham said. “If we can’t at the end of three weeks, all bets are off.”

Now granted, Sen. Graham is not necessarily saying that the president should reopen the government and then negotiate for a border wall with Democrats. Rather, he is saying that the president should allow for a temporary resolution to pay state employees who have been affected by the government shutdown to see if that affects the negotiating process at all. If it doesn’t, then we keep the government shut down; if it does, and Democratic leadership miraculously changes their minds and gives the president what he wants, then the Republican party rejoices in their efforts. Either way, a win-win for the GOP.

What the Senator may not understand is that the president is unfolding a massive strategy that works against his political challengers the best by giving his own party an advantage, even if things go awry. Here, he can fulfill two campaign promises that almost single-handedly won him the 2016 election: build a wall along our southern border and save the taxpayer money by restricting government spending to “essential” services. In other words, the president is doing anything and everything in his power to successfully maintain his popularity among Republicans, and even some “on the fence” Democrats.

I admit: the title of the article is a little misleading as far as how many Republicans disagree with Trump on this issue. Right now, there are just a few Republican Senators and a small number of representatives in the Democrat-held House. Other than that, the majority of GOP leadership agrees with the president and is rooting for the president, even through the longest government shutdown in history.

More information will follow regarding the Republican political strategy, but as of right now, the message from the president to his Republican colleagues is quite clear: hold the line.

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