Republicans face Political suicide if Government Shuts down

United States President Donald J. Trump is all for shutting down federal government at September end. He made his thoughts clear through a series of tweets on May 2. The present funding bill runs its full course in September. These tweets were written only a few days after Trump blamed the Democrats for the latter's supposed threat to shut the government down.

Republican fears

The GOP has excellent reasons to expect apprehension about the Trump presidential tweet where the President had advocated for “good” shutdown. The principal reason for such fear is that Republicans will be blamed for the shutdown. This is as the American public knows that Republicans are in complete control of the House, White House and Senate. There is no use in blaming the Democrats as this strategy will not work. The only way the GOP can gain political mileage if the Democrats make a huge tactical mistake. It is doubtful whether the latter will do anything like that.

The Republicans also face another challenge: they have to prove to the American public they can actually govern. During President Obama's eight year long tenure, the GOP thrived as an opposition party. Being back in government, however, changes things. Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, understands this, and thus he repeatedly says that the Republicans must get things done and demonstrate the competence to run a government.

Bad to worse

US political circles are fully aware that the shutdown strategy followed by Trump is a bad decision. It will also torpedo Republican efforts and the party's future in case they take the decision to follow Trump. Government shutdowns are avoided by both Republicans and Democrats as people abhor them and it involves high stakes. It also backfires on any party which provokes it. The outcome unpredictability is the reason lawmakers from both parties do everything under the sun to avoid government shutdowns. Consequences that cannot be predicted are hated by politicians. This kind of shutdown is full of such consequences.

Republicans have a bitter experience of shutdowns. The events related to Newt Gingrich continues to give them nightmares. Gingrich was the speaker during the first half of the 1990s. He forced the shutdown of a government as part of a showdown with then President Bill Clinton in the latter part of 1995. The common American did not forgive the GOP for this. Clinton enjoyed a decisive victory in 1996.

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