Several days after the U.S. government has partially shut down, President Trump has placed the ball firmly in House Speaker Pelosi’s court. Trump declared that “Nancy is calling the shots”, meaning he blames Pelosi for the shutdown, claiming that she did so to garner political capital for the house speakership.
President Trump has claimed in the past that the onus is on the President, and not the House or Senate to make deals and keep the government lights on. What he insists is different this time is that the American people have voted him in on a key platform agenda, and that he has the mandate to carry that agenda out: the construction of a U.S./Mexico wall.
If we believe in American democracy, which I do wholeheartedly, then this notion Trump raises about his mandate should be taken as an honest reflection of the sentiment of the U.S. as it relates to immigration. Given the persistent support many Americans have supplied to this particular issue, the government shutdown will be a status check on that mandate. Will the shutdown reflexively cause Trump’s support to wane as government services are held in stasis? Or, as the President is betting, will his supporters hold the line in order to advance an important issue they see as a central part of his presidency? I see the shut down as a sort of weather bell of his presidency, and I don’t think that we can understand the significance of the government shuttering its doors due to a dispute over a vital policy the president was elected to enact.