Government Shutdown

Even Opponents of Trump's Wall Should Root for a Government Shutdown Today

The president needs to experience a political shellacking before he'll back off.



Stephen Miller, President Donald Trump's irritable White House aide, declared on national TV over the weekend that the president was "absolutely" ready to make good on his threat to shut down the government if he doesn't get money for his border wall in the upcoming appropriations bill. "This is a very fundamental issue," yelled Miller at George Stephanopoulos. "At stake is the question of whether or not the United States remains a sovereign country."

Tough border controls do not make a sovereign country more sovereign. A county that opens the door to immigrants is exercising its sovereignty just as much as one that doesn't. If that were not the case, North Korea would be the only sovereign nation on the planet.

That said, everyone should be rooting that Trump today follows through on his threat and the government shuts down. And not just the supporters of the wall, but its opponents as well. If Trump is ever going to back off from this demand for good is if it is put to a political test and comes out a loser.

Trump has been threatening a government shutdown over the wall almost from the get-go. This time he is demanding $5 billion—down from the $25 billion he asked in January. But even in May of last year, he tweeted the country "needs a good 'shutdown'" in September to "fix [the] mess" at the border. RealClearPolitics' Bill Scher has pointed out Trump has kept this threat alive throughout 2018—issuing it virtually every month in April, June, July, and early September, only to flinch when congressional Republicans, terrified that a shutdown would torpedo their midterm prospects, prevailed on him to back-off and make a deal to keep the government funded.

Perhaps because of this retreat, the midterm elections didn't deliver a shellacking big enough to make the political downside of such a hardline strategy clear to Trump. The GOP lost 40 seats in the House, but it also gained two in the Senate. That was enough for Trump to declare the results a "tremendous victory."

But a post-election analysis by David Winston, a leading GOP pollster, found that voters who waited until the last few days to make their decision went Democratic by a 12-point margin. What's more, voters broadly were 59 percent less likely to back Republicans after hearing their message on immigration and 63 percent less likely after listening to them talk about border security and the migrant caravan. On the other hand, they were 76 percent more likely to vote GOP after hearing about jobs and the economy.

This means Trump's decision to tout immigration over his real economic accomplishments was a blunder of epic proportions. But his push for the government shutdown suggests he's not persuaded, even though the latest Marist/NPR poll shows 57 percent respondents overall would like Trump to compromise. Trump is mainly interested in playing up to his base. That makes a certain amount of sense given that he wouldn't be sitting in the White House without its support. And with his Republican base, the government shutdown over the wall is wildly popular, with 65 percent of Republicans telling him to go for it. Only 29 percent Republicans favor a compromise. Among Democrats, by contrast, 71 percent believe Trump should back off.

But Gallup polls show self-identifying Republicans are only 28 percent of total voters and Democrats 31 percent. Meanwhile, 39 percent of voters regard themselves as independent.

So assuming Trump has more or less bottomed out among Democrats, the question is whether a shutdown will result in more gains among Republicans than losses among independents—and vice-versa if he compromises.

Let's see: Among all eligible voters, there are 40 percent more independents than Republicans. And 61 percent of independents oppose the wall even without a government shutdown while 36 percent support it. With the government shutdown in play, the number of independents opposed is likely to soar. So the losses among independents are likely to be far greater than gains from Republicans.

Trump, however, doesn't believe this because, as far as he is concerned, border security and immigration controls have untapped voter appeal. That's why, he thinks, Democrats were forced to back off when they shut down the government to push the legalization of DREAMers earlier this year. So it wasn't the government shutdown that was unpopular, as far as Trump is concerned, but the Democrats' cause.

His reasoning is, of course, nonsensical. Legalizing DREAMers (those who were brought to this country without proper authorization but have grown up here as Americans) was far more popular than the border wall ever was with voters. Of course he won't believe this—unless he gets an overdue shellacking. Only if his poll numbers plummet below the persistent 40 percent approval rating he has enjoyed thus far will he be convinced that shutting down the government isn't worth it. At that point, he might moderate his constant attacks on immigrants for the simple reason that after a point, they backfire—they don't win him friends or voters.

So everyone should hope that sounder minds and cooler heads don't prevail and Trump tries to decisively overreach by shutting down the government. Only when he understands that he can't "keep winning" by playing to his base alone will he call off his constant attacks on immigrants.

A version of this column appeared in The Week


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  1. News shows are all about the “chaos in D.C.” and that some govt employees will have to work without pay for the holidays. They are already paid without working, so let’s try working without pay for a while.

    1. They will get back pay when it is over.

      1. My own understanding, based on information received from reliable sources, is that the actual motive for the shutdown is the refusal of certain legislators to enact the Digital Wall statute, the proposed language of which is based on some of the court decisions in America’s leading criminal “parody” case. See the documentation at:

        Surely we can all agree that creating a strong digital barrier to protect certain distinguished academics from inappropriate forms of “satire” is a matter of urgent necessity. It is to be hoped that Congress will come to its senses and realize that we cannot continue as a nation without taking real measures, measures that work, to restrict some of the “free speech” nonsense we keep hearing about, and to silence the Trolls once and for all.

    2. It never seems to occur to Shikha that when EVERYONE disagrees with her, she may be wrong.

      Of course, I may be misinterpreting her purpose. Perhaps she is to Reason what the hapless leftist dupes on the Tucker Carlson show are to Tucker himself: Comic relief. A straw-woman. A caricature so bizarre and ridiculous that no one can take it seriously. A way to galvanize disgust and disdain for positions that are inherently nonsense and thereby win the issue for the opposing side.

      Is that it Reason? Surely, no publication outside a few communist rags run by 30-somethings living in their mothers’ basements could seriously advance the Shikha tropes.

  2. god damnit. I have to agree with a Shikha premise?

    Yes, shut it down. Wall or not, doesn’t matter. Citizens need to realize the insanity and hysteria that democrats put forth with the shut down threat. 90% of all employees continue to operate as “essential.” Nobody feels the shutdown except the overpaid Federal bureaucrats. Obama had to go out of his way to PAY guards and for fences to keep people out of open air monuments. The government is wasteful. The world not ending during a shut down will help people realize it. Keep it shut down. No back pay.

    1. Finished reading the article. Shikha is an idiot. Her headline premise is found almost nowhere in the article. She instead wants to use the issue as a political wedge to attack Trump. I’ll go back to being unimpressed with Shikha and her one note ballads.

      1. That’s just about what I assumed the article would be and for that reason didn’t bother reading. It’s a shame too because I agreed with the premise

        1. Of course, for Shikha, it’s all-or-nothing. If you don’t allow immigrants, you’re N. Korea, but if you allow any at all, then you should throw the borders open and welcome every piece of scum from every location on earth.

          Shikha, one of the biggest arguments for permitting third-worlders from entering America is that there is nothing here for them. Those south of the border and in Africa average IQs ranging from the 80s down to less than 65. 70 is the break point for mental retardation. Now get someone else to explain it to you (because I doubt you can understand on your own): America already has about 15% of its population that falls into this category of low-IQ, virtually unemployable people. Robotics will decimate the work opportunities for low-IQ individuals in the future. That crunch is coming whether we import more low-IQ individuals or not – it’s just that with a larger pool, the squeeze for jobs will be far more severe and the load on the welfare state will explode. What do you propose? That they, like you, write hack articles for Reason?

      2. Shikha obviously wants Trump to “back off from this demand for good” so he comes out a loser. Seems to me, the only people who really care about a government shutdown are the Democrats, RINOs and anyone whose government check would be delayed. The don’t really affect anyone other than government employees.

        I disagree with Shikha because we should be having government shutdowns over spending, but the establishment continues to disparage them in support of the establishment. While Trump’s request increases spending (less than 0.2% of the budget) who’s being petty here; Trump or the establishment? I think voters will side with Trump, because his request is so small (especially say compared to the costs of Obamacare which cost trillions), and it was his #1 issue and he was elected.

        And I say this as a voter for Johnson and someone who doesn’t think a wall is necessary because changes to enforcement rules (like detaining anyone not in the US legally until their cases are resolved) would practically stop illegal immigration. I even want more immigration, but of the legal kind of people who’ll contribute to the economy rather than be welfare leeches.

    2. Nobody feels the shutdown expect perhaps employees who are living from paycheck to paycheck. They all will get paid eventually. Even the ones who were actually sent home will get back pay for their forced vacation.

    3. “The federal bureaucracy is so self-sustaining that a shutdown doesn’t really do any lasting damage” is hardly a libertarian argument.

      1. No it’s a pragmatic argument.

        1. An argument about what? Seems like desperate, vain hope that a shutdown won’t make Trump even more unpopular than he already is.

          1. It will help prove the hypocrisy of the media when we see that government shutdowns by Republicans are always viewed as evil but shutdowns by progressives are noble, regardless of pragmatism.

    4. Yes, Please shut it down and keep it there…..

    5. Shikha is, as ever, totally irrational. 40 seats in the off-year midterm is a minor loss by recent historical standards. (Obozo and Clinton did worse.) While Trump should shut down the government – and keep it shut down until the wall is funded the claim it’s a “political test” that will prove a loser is typical Shikha crap.

      Americans (not faux Americans like Shikha) are contributing their own dollars to build the wall. This morning, the fund was at $11 million+. Checking now, it’s over $13 million with 230,000+ donors.

      As word gets out, donations are increasing. I’m under no illusion that the donations will ever reach $5 billion. But even if the money were spent day-by-day as it comes in, $1-$2 million per DAY is a lot of money for building walls. Personally, I am opposed to building the wall. I think we should deploy our military and defend the border against invasion – same as we would in Iraq or S. Korea. Bullets, bombs, mines, predator drones, hellfire missiles… NAPALM – that’s what I would like to see. Mangled bodies, charred flesh, guts ripped out with blood leaking into the sand. Video it all and transmit the images to Mexico with a warning. We might have to kill a dozen before the rest figure out: Invade America – DIE! Still, that would be fewer than currently die in an given Summer month trying to cross the desert. Call me a humanitarian after all.

  3. Those employees who get furloughed can get jobs in other areas of government. I hear they’ll need bodies to form a human chain around monuments and parks so that no one enjoys them while the government is shut down.

  4. Oh Shikha, never change. Can you possibly be more obtuse?

    “Tough border controls do not make a sovereign country more sovereign.”

    No but if you have laws that are not enforced, and even routinely ignored, then that renders practical sovereignty meaningless in that area of governance.

  5. He may not need the funding from Congress. That gofundme is up to $11.75M.

    1. No more Congress appropriations. All GoFundMe based government.

      1. I dunno if you’re being sarcastic or not, but I’m down for this. Let people pay directly for the government they want.

    2. only 25 billion to go…

    3. The old adage about a sucker born every minute is not true! In the USA in 2018, there is a sucker born every 5 seconds!….So, let me get this straight: The citizens of a nation that routinely steals their hard earned money & wastes it on all sorts of nonsense & IMMORAL & ILLEGAL wars & shits all over their Constitutional & Natural Rights & Liberties is sending their hard earned money to this nation’s Govt. to build a ridiculous wall that will be corruptly mismanaged by said nation & end up being another monumental boondoggle waste of money that will not produce the desired results!

      Trumpty-Dumpty must be laughing so hard he is peeing his pants!

  6. I want Trump to “shut down the government” just so I can see what he comes up with to top Barry-cades.

    1. Speed Trumps

  7. If Trump shuts down the government, signs the prison reform bill, and actually pulls us out of Syria and Afghanistan, the Libertarian moment may really have arrived.

    1. There are the issues of his trade war and xenophobic immigration policies, but you can’t have it all.

      Half a Libertarian moment!

      1. That is more than the “no libertarian moment” that there has been since forever.

        1. Carter was pretty libertarian. He legalized homebrew, and deregulated trucking and airlines.

          1. He had to legalize home brew. His brother’s welfare check couldn’t cover his beer for the month any more.

      2. Understanding that a welfare state and open borders cant commingle is not xenophobic. Sad you cant argue rationally on this topic.

      3. The trade war is in service if free trade. What good is it if just we implement it? The same can be said of immigration. How come no one in Washington ever laments that our citizens can’t immigrate somewhere else because we have nothing to bargain with on the issue because we gave away the farm unilaterally on immigration? It’s not about free movement of people for 90% of the promigration set, it’s about the free movement of poor people to come here and take jobs and lower wages while Americans are locked here.

        I like Mexico. I’d like to get dual citizenship and buy a house to vacation at. It’s a nightmare process.

        1. I like Mexico. I’d like to get dual citizenship and buy a house to vacation at. It’s a nightmare process.

          If I were as free to defend myself and my family in Mexico or Canada as I am in the US, I’d definitely spend more time in those places.

    2. The center-left has been hollowed out of the Democratic Party by Trump. That’s your white, blue-collar, workers. The progressives and social justice warriors who run the Democratic Party now still can’t stop themselves from hating on the people they need to win–not even after losing the White House and underperforming in the midterms.

      With no center-left in the Democratic Party anymore, they’re just a party of radicals. Winning the nomination for president will be about being more feminist, more environmentalist, more socialist, more pro-illegal immigration etc. than all the other Democrats in the field. How are they going to win the primaries in California and Massachusetts by being more radical than all the other candidates in the Democrat primaries and then walk that back to win the swing vote in Michigan, Ohio, western Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin?

      The Democratic Party has become so radicalized, it’s hard to imagine any Republicans even in open primary states voting for any Democrat. They don’t even have that to mitigate their radicalism.

      Point is, it’s not just that Trump is bad on some issues (trade, immigration), okay on others (gun rights, drug war), and great on others (deregulation, anti-neocon). It’s also that the Democratic candidate is likely to be God awful on almost every single issue from a libertarian perspective. Hell, and if Trump is worse than the Democrats on trade, isn’t it only because he actually keeps his promises?

      1. Democrats got millions more votes in the 2016 presidential election and the last midterm. You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. Salt-of-the-earth rednecks are not a governing majority in this country, even if they may be all you see from your window.

        1. Do you realize that shifting the vote count in CA to be even more lopsided for the Democrats doesn’t actually net them anything on the national field?

          Do you realize that 26 of the 35 Senate seats up in the 2018 midterms were in blue districts?

          The “national vote counts” don’t mean anything in those contexts.

          I mean, I can understand why that would irritate you, but I don’t understand the willful failure to grasp the implications. It’s like you’d rather lose, and then be able to bitch about it, than actually do anything to win.

          Hunh, maybe you really are a libertarian…

          1. What is a Senate district? Do you mean a state?

            That the American people want Democrats in charge and not the Republicans who are is a significant fact, even if our system makes a mangle of democracy.

            1. What is a Senate district? Do you mean a state?

              Actually, what I really meant was “were currently held by Democrats”.

              But feel free to ignore the message of it to score a rhetorical point. Go you.

              1. Still don’t know what point you’re trying to make. Republicans flipped 4 senate seats (and Democrats flipped 2).

                1. Tony, are you really this dumb? Most of the Senate seats this year were in blue states. Adding vote totals for single party races, where Republicans didn’t have a candidate, is idiotic. Maybe that’s why you do it?

                  1. Still not getting the point. Is the point that Republicans are the bestest politicians ever?

                    The senate map was, randomly, deeply unfavorable to Democrats, as was universally reported. The narrative of the 2018 election was, despite their inability to pick up senate seats, that Trump was soundly rejected by voters.

                    As a nonpartisan freethinking libertarian or whatever, I’d think you’d be able to accept that without hassle.

                    1. I accept the fact we have a federal system that contains 2 senators per state and an electoral college. It is your poorly educated self that cant accept that fact.

                      You also cant seem to reason why having multiple seats without a challenger can skew a count for “total number of Senate votes.” So are you stupid?

                    2. Which senate seats didn’t have challengers?

                    3. Which senate seats didn’t have challengers?

                      If you broaden that question slightly to “challengers from the other party”, then the answer is “California”, for one.

                      “Nationwide, Democrat candidates received more votes than Republican candidates” is a silly thing to say for multiple reasons.

                      1.) The aforementioned CA race, which was between two Democrats.

                      2.) States have different populations, so even if there had been a Republican in the CA race, adding up the number of people in CA who voted D, with the people in WY who voted D, and comparing that to the number of people in both of those states who voted R, doesn’t actually mean anything.

                      The senate map was, randomly, deeply unfavorable to Democrats, as was universally reported.

                      It’s like you almost get it, and then the math just escapes you. Dunno man, I tried. Honestly, it’s not like I actually want the people you favor to be elected, so I’m not sure why I’m trying to help you understand in the first place.

                    4. Whether Republicans should get affirmative action in California elections is a fine topic for debate, and fair enough.

                      But Democrats had 26 seats up for election to Republicans’ 9. That is a shitty map for Democrats any way you slice it.

                      Did I do the math good this time?

                    5. Did I do the math good this time?

                      No, actually, you didn’t. You’ve gotten it precisely backwards.

                      OK, I’m gonna try one last time, because I apparently hate myself, and then I gotta pack for Berlin.

                      Senate races, for seats which are currently held by Democrats, in places where Democrats win, are likely to boost overall, nationwide, “votes for Democrats” totals.

                      If there are more of those races, than there are races for seats which are similarly Republican “owned”, then of course the “nationwide vote totals” for Democrats are going to be higher than for Republicans.

                      Hell, CA alone, with its “two Democrats and no Republicans” Senate race, would skew that number into utter meaninglessness all by itself.

                      The entire point that I am trying now, and have been this entire time, to attempt to get across to you, is that the concept of “nationwide vote totals” are utterly meaningless. And made even more so in a race like this one, where there were a large number of “Democrat” seats up, and fewer “Republican” ones.

                      OK, so try this last bit. Imagine the next election, where CA isn’t electing Senators, but Texas and Oklahoma and $OTHER_SOLID_RED_STATE_HERE is. But there’s almost no “safe” Democrats seats up for voting. There would be lots more Republican votes–overall, across the entire country–than there were Democrat ones. And what would that mean? Not a goddamned thing.

                    6. So despite all the evidence on the ground–the historically high turnover in the House, the fact that the senate only flipped a couple seats despite an enormous advantage for Republicans (as noted), and the obvious reality that Trump is a beached whale someone set fire to, politically speaking, you’re arguing that Republicans won 2018? Or what? Why are you defending Republicans? Have you looked at them recently?

                    7. Jesus fuck, you really are just dumb as a box of hair.

                      I spelled it out. Here, I’ll fucking quote myself: The entire point that I am trying now, and have been this entire time, to attempt to get across to you, is that the concept of “nationwide vote totals” are utterly meaningless.

                      You goddamned moron.

                      I think I’m going to be really glad to not have to read this sort of idiocy for 3 weeks.

                    8. There was no historically high turnover doe house seats you dummy.

          2. “Democrats got millions more votes in the 2016 presidential election and the last midterm. You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.”

            Yeah, Tony wrote this as if he doesn’t know that getting an even higher percentage of the vote in California, for instance, won’t get the Democrats any more electoral votes. If there’s anything interesting about that, it’s what it tells us about Tony (and people like him).

            Here’s my argument:

            Tony is oblivious to facts that undermine his arguments.

            Tony commits the same logical fouls repeatedly–even after having them pointed out to him repeatedly for years.

            Conclusion: Tony doesn’t care whether he’s wrong or right.

            1. You don’t get it Ken. If it feels true then it is true. Logic be damned!

              1. “If it feels true then it is true.”

                To understand their logic, you have to believe in their cult.

                You have to feel it to believe in it.

                And once you believe it, then you know it.

            2. Are you proud of the fact that the politicians you do constant butt work for can’t win the presidency except by an obsolete antidemocratic anomaly of a process? I took civics in 8th grade too. Not only did I learn how the electoral college works, I learned that a president loathed by a significant majority of Americans with no hope of regaining their trust won’t win reelection, even without the vast criminal conspiracies.

              1. Are you proud of the fact that the politicians you do constant butt work for can’t win the presidency except by an obsolete antidemocratic anomaly of a process?

                You mean like Hillary rigging the D primary?

                1. Who let the Berniebro in? He’s stinking up the place.

              2. Your strong D+ in 8th grade civics is showing.

            3. The best irony in all this is the same liberals, especially Californians, complaining about how the popular vote (aka majority rule) should have won the election for Hilary are the same people who lobbied to have proposition 8 (Cali’s legalize gay marriage referendum that failed on the 08′ Obama ballot) reinstated, even though the “popular vote” in California shot it down in 2008.

              Californians want majority rule when its anti trump, but not when its anti gay marriage.

              1. Not that you ask, but I’ll chime in to say that popular vote is a bad way to legislate, though it is the preferable way to elect those who do the legislating.

                1. Unless the map changes, right?

        2. “Democrats got millions more votes in the 2016 presidential election and the last midterm. You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. Salt-of-the-earth rednecks are not a governing majority in this country, even if they may be all you see from your window.”

          Democrats only got 227 votes in the Presidential election, that’s why Trump is YOUR President. America is a representative republic, not a democracy. It doesn’t matter if shitstain illiberal liberals outnumber rednecks. Majority doesn’t necessarily rule, in a republic. I’m not “governed”. I’m represented (theoretically), because I’m a free man, not a subject. Who doesn’t know what the fuck they are talking about? You, Tony. I usually just laugh at your stupid shit and keep on scrolling, but your derangement is hitting levels that your medication can’t overcome. I’m still laughing at you though.

          1. Why does everyone respond to me with a gradeschool civics lesson? Do you think I’m unaware of the rules of our system?

            Not that the rules were even being applied when the Supreme Court appointed Bush (loser of the popular vote, second worst president in history). I suppose they were in place when Trump (loser of the popular vote, worst president in history) won. That they exist doesn’t mean they are good, and we have ample real-world evidence for why they’re not.

            1. Do you think I’m unaware of the rules of our system?

              Since you’re talking about the nationwide vote counts by party, it’s certainly the impression you give.

            2. “Why does everyone respond to me with a gradeschool civics lesson? Do you think I’m unaware of the rules of our system?”

              Absolutely. Completely.

              “Not that the rules were even being applied when the Supreme Court appointed Bush (loser of the popular vote, second worst president in history). I suppose they were in place when Trump (loser of the popular vote, worst president in history) won.”

              SCOTUS appointed W? You’re delusional. Democrats wanted a recount, but only in precincts where they might pick up votes. SCOTUS simply said if there is going to be a recount, they must recount ALL votes. Dems weren’t interested in a fair recount, only a recount in which they might prevail. So much for “democracy”. Democrats love democracy, unless it fucks them. Fuck you, you dickless piece of shit.

              1. Democracy would have had Al Gore as president. Instead the supreme court appointed Bush on nakedly partisan lines. Republicans were way, way dirtier in that whole thing. No need to call names.

                1. “”Democracy would have had Al Gore as president.”

                  Another reason to fear democracy. Thanks for the assist.

                  “Instead the supreme court appointed Bush on nakedly partisan lines. Republicans were way, way dirtier in that whole thing. No need to call names.”

                  Keep spinnin’ that yarn, Tony. Keep bullshitting yourself. Since I’m from Tennessee, I’ll let you in on a little secret. If Al had won his own state, he’d be President. Hell, f he’d won his home county, he would have been President. He didn’t win, because he wasn’t one of us. He was a rich kid Senator’s son from the swamp in DC. A bullshit artist, who was a great protector of the environment, you know, except for all the Tennessee mountains he strip mined, except, of course, the ones around his house. But keep blaming SCOTUS. It had nothing to do with the fact that the cream of the Democrat crop, was a guy so stiff and inept, he couldn’t even beat W’s stupid ass. Not even in his home town. You would say you were screwed. I’d say we dodged a bullet. Strategery is a bitch.

                  1. We dodged a bullet and got a couple airplanes in buildings followed by a decade-long war based on a lie and a near-great-depression. *Blows new years party horn*

                  2. I like how this keeps turning into a direct democracy argument where one doesn’t exist. It’s almost like Tony admits that civics course was forgotten.

  8. Whether or not we want a wall, I have no problem with a shutdown. It’ll be interesting to compare and contrast with the Obama shutdown.

  9. “Trump’s wall is wildly popular with his Republican base but enjoys little support outside it. Until it becomes abundantly clear to him that he has less to gain from his already maxed-out base and more to lose with everyone else, he won’t back off.”

    Elections are won and lost by swing voters.

    The question isn’t what 90% of the people think. It’s what the swinging 10% thinks. If that is disproportionately made up of the white, blue collar, middle class in the rust belt, and they’re susceptible to the argument that a wall is good and Trump shows that he fought tooth and nail to get it? Then don’t bet against Trump.

    It doesn’t matter if California, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington state vote even harder for the Democrat in 2020. All the Democrat will get is the full number of electorates anyway.

    It’s funny how some people find shutdowns edifying but still haven’t been edified by the lessons of the last election.

    1. I’d bet against Trump if I were you. I realize that our system makes California residents 400 times less important than Montana residents in presidential elections, but even a fat orange Republican with severe mental health issues can’t win the electoral college automatically.

      He’s not going to get any better. His lifelong narcissism disorder isn’t going away. There will be no pivot to a winning strategy. And it’s hard to win even an extremely unfair popularity contest from prison.

      1. Thing is, the Democrats are likely to nominate a socialist nut like Warren who will drive anyone leaning remotely to the right into the Trump camp. Sure someone like her will capture the votes of the young and the clueless, but everyone else will hold their nose and vote for the reality show host.

      2. I realize that our system makes California residents 400 times less important than Montana residents in presidential elections

        Given that California Democrats have disenfranchised every non-Democrat in the state, I think that’s more than fair.

        1. Non-Democrats aren’t allowed to vote in California?

          Let’s be precise in our language.

          1. Kamala Harris as AG forcing every political campaign to give her office all donor lists and balance sheets had no quieting effect on the opposition at all….

            You’re an authoritarian idiot.

            1. And it only applied to non-Democrats?

              1. Wow Tony. Really upping the stupidity today. Do you think Pro Putin media is scared if Putin gets their donor lists? Even democratic political groups decried the move by Harris if they supported policies she didn’t.

                1. Bit of a meh compared to the ways Republicans shit on democracy and freedom, don’t you think?

                  1. Yep. Only one team sucks. Must by why so many on this site aren’t looking for a third or fourth option.

      3. I realize that our system makes California residents 400 times less important than Montana residents in presidential elections

        CA makes itself unimportant. You all decide to make it winner-take-all. That immediately renders any minority completely dead – that’s 4.5 million voters voiceless – so there is no reason for any candidate to campaign there and listen to their concerns if they risk losing. And reveling in a one-party system means there is no reason for a candidate to waste time campaigning and listening to their concerns if they are going to win – that’s 8.7 million voters voiceless – and no reason for anyone who wants their vote to matter to even vote – that’s roughly 15 million citizens of voting age voiceless.

        Winner-take-all is what small states should do. It’s the ONLY way they can ever have a voice. Big states should always provide a simple incentive for candidates to pay attention. They do that – they WILL get visited and listened to simply because of their size. And far more important, once big states stop being bullies – small states may be far more willing to expand the size of the House – which will change the balance of the electoral college and provide actual representation again to everyone at the federal level.

        1. Not to mention that the important influence of big states in our DeRp system should be in the primaries – essentially being able to veto who will/not become the ultimate candidates – not the general election.

          The majoritarian bullying that CA has imposed on itself is the major reason primary turnout in CA has dropped from 65% in the 1970’s to 15% now. That is entirely rational. Kill the voice in the general election – and there is no reason to vote in the primaries either.

        2. Just looking at 2016 –

          8.75 million CA voters voted for Clinton and delivered 55 EC votes to her. That’s 160k Clinton voters per EC vote

          279 thousand MT voters voted for Trump and delivered 3 EC votes to him. That’s 93k Trump voters per EC cote. And the election was far more competitive in MT than CA so you would expect that to be a bit lower (ie each voter becomes a bit more important) for that reason alone.

      4. I realize that our system makes California residents 400 times less important than Montana residents in presidential elections

        Because we all know that Montana is the most critical swing state.

  10. I’ve seen toddlers negotiate better than Donald Trump.

    1. I don’t want to know the detail of that particular interaction, Tony.

      1. Tony has a van, and a sack of candy…

      2. Now that I think about it, Trump could up his game by relocating his negotiations to his airplane and then screaming the whole time until the other passengers just give in to his demands.

    2. I’ve seen toddlers negotiate better than Donald Trump.

      And yet he is president and Hillary is not. Go figure.

      1. *Figures*

        Our wonderful system is one in which a foreign dictator can get a president installed.

        1. …But enough about Chinese money and Clinton…

          1. Sont have to even go back to the Clintins. Feinstein is still there. And even Obama had a lot of foreign donors utilizing the under 100 loophole.

    3. “I’ve seen toddlers negotiate better than Donald Trump.”

      Yep, lots of toddlers have billion dollar fortunes from building luxury resorts and skyscrapers. Many of them became President of the United States with ZERO political experience, running against more qualified cunts in pantsuits, who knew what was better for me than I did.

      I believe that. I’m pretty gullible.

      1. Well, one did.

  11. The TDS runs deep in this one

  12. “Should Root for a Government Shutdown Today”

    It needs to be noted that the government doesn’t actually shut down. Parks will close, entitlement checks will stop, but the DOD, the DOJ, SEC, FBI, DEA, DHS, none of the alphabet soup of enforcement agencies will lay off a single employee.

    1. Entitlement goes out still.

      1. They have at least threatened to stop Social Security benefits payments in past shutdowns.

        1. They will threaten whatever it takes to get what they want.

          1. The canard of: “We’re going to default on our debt”, coming in 3, 2, 1…

  13. Shikha, does it infuriate you that private donors have contributed millions of dollars (and growing daily) to finish the border wall?

    1. Are private individuals going to seize all that land that belongs to people in order to build it?

      Dear god why do we even have to deal with the problem of Trump’s stupids when there are so many other problems in the world?

      1. You were roundly against the federal land grab by Obama then, right?

      2. Is that, really a problem?
        On “my” little quarter acre lot, government has set aside an “easement” all around for them to do whatever they need to do. I would imagine that something like that exists for land along the border.
        Then there’s eminent domain, that the SCOTUS says is OK for throwing people, entirely off their property, for a gain in tax collections.
        Another canard from the dishonest left?

  14. I’m rooting for a government shutdown. It really outs the pure pussies.

  15. How anyone that calls themselves a libertarian isn’t in favor of a government shutdown for a good reason, bad reason, and no reason at all boggles the mind. Everytime it happens it shows the American people that a quarter of the federal workforce or 500,000 people can stop working and nothing at all changes if you aren’t one of the handful of people that need to get a passport renewed every ten years.

    The vast majority of the writers now employed by reason aren’t libertarian at all, they are simply open borders neoliberal progressives who have a very slight pacifist streak that is slightly more pronounced than normal. What is the raison d’etre of Reason now when I can get the same hot takes from Salon on 95% of the political news?

    1. What a hodgepodge of nonsense. The reason for the shutdown is the president isn’t getting to add $5 billion more to the debt to built a monument to his ego. That’s not a good reason to shut down the government! And the moment the shutdown affects your life in any remote way, you’d whine like a bitch. Nobody’s a libertarian, really. But especially not people who want the federal government to do large, expensive things for no reason.

      1. This isn’t a difficult concept for most people to grasp. But et me try again for the retarded. The best real world illustration of libertarian principles that most Americans will ever experience is when half a million federal workers stop showing up to work and 99.9% of Americans can’t tell one single difference if they aren’t watching the MSM lament the coming apocalypse because that the people who charge you to visit federal wilderness parks shut them down because aren’t there to earn a fat pensions to change the toilet paper and charge money to enter.

        It destroys the media narrative that all these people are needed and in fact somehow improve their lives.

        Do you even pretend to have any libertarian principles?

        1. Do you even pretend to have any libertarian principles?


        2. No, I don’t pretend that, because libertarianism is stupid. These days it’s mostly warmed-over right wing racism. Even the few who aren’t Republican towel boys practice a vulgar, Ayn Rand style of politics that has less to do with libertarian political philosophy that with slogans and stupidity.

          That said, it’s not a good argument to make that shutting down the government ain’t no big deal because the government has in place a massive bureaucracy that can function on autopilot. Also, it costs money to shut down the government. And to build a big stupid wall.

          1. why do you come here everyday? are you a masochist?

            1. On the contrary, I feel nothing. I’m here to practice sick burns for when, in the impending apocalypse, a sick burn artist is called to duty.

              1. well you are terrible at it.

                1. That’s not what your mom said last night.

                  1. Don’t you mean his dad?

          2. And he pulled the racist card.

      2. Must be tough being so cynical, Tony. We’re all just suckling at the teet in your world, speaking out of our ass about liberty and all that nonsense, right? I guess living in a world like that means you don’t have to believe in anything except the belief that no one else does either. Comfortable and familiar, I suppose.

        1. I believe in not spending tax money to build pointless things just so a big fat man baby can not have a tantrum one day… Call me cynical if you like.

          1. Admit it, you aren’t against the wall because it’s”pointless”.
            You’re against the wall for the same reasons all the other communists are against it – because it will work, and will remain long after your hated, most conservatively successful, president is gone.
            You just hate the idea of limiting the invasion of future communist voters and giving Donald Trump, or any non-communist, ANYTHING.

            1. Seek professional help.

              1. Tony refuses to get mental help for his condition, so take his suggestion with a grain of salt.

  16. So assuming Trump has more or less bottomed out among Democrats, the question is whether a shutdown will result in more gains among Republicans than losses among independents?and vice-versa if he compromises.

    Let’s see: Among all eligible voters, there are 40 percent more independents than Republicans. And 61 percent of independents oppose the wall even without a government shutdown while 36 percent support it. With the government shutdown in play, the number of independents opposed is likely to soar. So the losses among independents are likely to be far greater than gains from Republicans.

    The President is threatening to shut down the government in order to get more funding for border security and the only people that for whom this unequivocally enhances his popularity is Republicans. Everybody else, to a greater or lesser degree wants either more border security, more governemnt, or both.

    Remember kids, as far as liberty is concerned, there’s no difference between the two parties.

    1. Anyone, who says they are for “border security” but are against a wall, are lying about the former.

      For those who, falsely, claim that a wall won’t work – ask yourself: what stopped that “caravan” of thousands of Central Americans, and continues to keep them on the other side of the border?
      It ain’t some imaginary “border control”, that the left supposedly wants.
      It’s a fucking WALL!

  17. Shut it down and watch the tears of the democrat progressive socialist flow…………

  18. Shiksa, how do you do it? Friggin bril, man. The photo by “mohammed salem” was flat out genius. Hilarious. Please don’t ever stop.

  19. Hell, I’m just rooting for a government shutdown period. I’m hopeful one day they won’t be able to fire it back up.

  20. Are you supposed to be some kind of libertarian? You seem like one of these Cato people whose fetish for immigration has obfuscated any libertarian attitude toward the state. We should all root for a government shutdown because it will illustrate exactly how non-essential all of these non-essential personnel are. If you are a libertarian, exactly what tragedy do you think will befall the country in the event of a shutdown that will turn public opinion against Trump? This guy just pulled troops out of Syria, is pulling troops out of the longest war in American history, and is threatening to shut down the federal government – no libertarian should waste any breath criticizing him this week.

  21. Wow, Laura Ingraham is one coked-up bitch. You’d think the FOX people would realize that he can’t get the stupid wall and pivot or lie or do something to distract. Now the country is in a crisis because Brian Kilmeade expressed an opinion that made Trump have a sad.

    1. But this is a clarifying moment, isn’t it? Turns out Republican buttlickers do have principles after all. It’s a fucking Christmas miracle. They make their stand here, and they’ll even turn on Trump if it means not enough brown people are prevented from entering the country.

    2. Tony’s daily sad rant.

  22. This author is a reason to think Reason is losing it’s reason to exist

  23. Trump is a skilled con-artist commotion now means much less excitement when Congress opens in January.

    The Defense Secretary resigning over Syria prevented in from resigning over North Korea, which would have created a commotion that would have cut in somewhat to his base.

    Where or not the Government shuts down, Trump’s efforts to excite his continues to increase.

  24. Why does this communist write for She is the enemy of everything Libertarians hold dear.

    1. How else are they supposed to give Reason donations to Lefty politicians since direct political contributions are limited?

      Reason gets donations. Reason pays Shikha. Shikha donates to Lefty politicians. Lefty politicians try to take all our money and have us murdered for ingesting something they dont want us to.

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