«One senior Republican Senate staffer told me he could envision the shutdown lasting until March, when federal funding dries up for food stamps—a crisis that would be hard for Washington to ignore. “Not only are there going to be a lot of hungry families,” he said, “but there are going to be a lot of Walmarts and Safeways and Krogers that are missing revenue.”
If one thing unites most Republicans and Democrats on the Hill these days, it’s that there is little use in trying to negotiate in good faith with the Trump White House. The president is simply too volatile, too prone to change his mind in a fit of pique, too apt to reverse course after watching Fox News. It was Trump, after all, who abruptly backed out of an agreed-upon budget deal last month after right-wing media figures such as Ann Coulter started clamoring for border-wall funding.
Now that he’s in the fight, Trump seems to be relishing the opportunities for showmanship that the shutdown affords him. Why bother governing—a job he has rarely seemed to like—when he can spend all day doling out Quarter Pounders to college-football players, plotting publicity stunts, and trading barbs with political enemies? As long as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stays in line—and he’s shown no signs that he plans to break ranks—the president will be free to keep the show going for as long as he wants.»