People much closer to the scene of the crime(s) are looking very closely at how ballots are being counted and how ballots arrived to be counted in the US Presidential election. It is going to take a while.
Rigging an election is tough. Somehow you have to get enough ballots in the count for your guy (and get rid of the other guy’s, if possible). Mail-in voting made this, in principle, easier as there are all sorts of ways to get ballots which have been mailed out ranging from simple theft to outright purchase. The trick being to avoid over egging the pudding, that is bringing in more ballots than are plausible.
But it is more complicated than that. What do you do with down ballot races – every ballot will have a congressional race and some will have a Senatorial race and other items to vote on. Moreover, because of Congressional Districts you can’t really just roll in with a couple of hundred thousand “generic” ballots. If you want to cheat in Philadelphia you need ballots which have the correct Congressional races on them.
With mail in votes there is also the added problem that the person ostensibly mailing them in a) needed to be alive, b) at a specific address at the time the ballot was sent. These are checkable facts so, if you are going to steal you need to get them right.
If you want to add a couple of thousand ballots to the count, none of these issues will be insurmountable. But the whole thing gets a lot more complicated and prone to detection if you need to add tens or hundreds of thousands of ballots to drag your man over the line.
As things get more complicated the likelihood of detectable errors increases. So does the number of people who have to be in on the “steal”. Every additional person increases the risk of detection.
Was 2020 stolen for Biden? I don’t know and neither do the Trump people; but, if it was, there is every chance that the theft will be detected in one or more states with a bit of scrutiny. At this point, the Trump lawyers are attempting to have the Courts require that scrutiny. The precedents set back in the Gore/Bush election suggest that the Supreme Court of the United States will be perfectly willing to make such orders as are required to “true the vote”.
If the steal is on the scale of hundreds of thousands of votes it will almost certainly be proven and those tainted votes could be excluded from the final count.
What then? Nothing good I am afraid. The Democratic faithful will demand that every vote be counted, the Republicans will say, except the illegal ones. Do overs in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia and Arizona would be one way out; but the logistics would be a nightmare.
The problem with cheating is that it ruins the game for everyone.
Biden is calling in Obama to campaign in Michigan (which should be a Democrat lock). But what is cute about this is that the campaign stop is to be at an “undisclosed location”.
Who does that?
Apparently, this is motivated by a desire to avoid the annoying Trumpsters who have been showing up at Biden rallies and mocking the old guy.
I’ve already written about why I think Trump will win bigly, however the events of the last few days – the Hunter Biden documents and videos, the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, riots in Philly and, tonight Washington, DC, the second debate – simply re-enforce that view.
People with a serious chance of winning do not campaign at undisclosed locations with former Presidents. They are out and about doing several events a day. These days, not pressing the flesh, but visible, confident, in charge. Biden is none of those things.
I am pretty sure Trump is going to win, but I am even more certain that Biden is going to lose.
Biden loses because he is a terrible campaigner and because he has not gained any traction for whatever it is he is presenting as vision for America. Leave aside his infirmities, he has not articulated anything which would make people want to vote for him. His voting base is voting against Trump, not for Biden.
The Trumpsters are out in force. Joyful, laughing, gently mocking “Sleepy Joe”. They are daylight contrasted with the Biden supporters looting Walmart in the dark.
Trump supporters are basically running spontaneous tail gate parties across America. Lots of people, no masks, have some fun, wave a flag, cheer for your guy. Biden and his campaign have no answer.
To avoid it they are running a “campaign event” at an undisclosed location.
If you read MSM, especially Canadian MSM, the US Presidential Election is over and Joe Biden will cruise to an easy victory in both the popular vote and in the swing states where US elections are decided. The polls say so. End of story.
It is trite to point out that the polls said the same thing about Hillary in 2016, yet here we are.
Elections are about a lot of things, policy, personality, demographics, ground game, likeability and so on. They serve as an outlet for the fears and frustrations of the electorate and an opportunity to express tribal loyalty. The 2020 US Presidential Election is really an up or down vote on Donald Trump.
In 2016 Trump short circuited the system by providing an alternative to a genuinely despised woman whose “turn” it was. If I had a vote, which I don’t because Canadian, I would not have voted for Trump, I would have voted against Hillary. I did not like Trump the man and was not at all excited at the prospect of “President Trump”.
This has changed a bit for 2020. He’s still an Orange Oaf but, in the face of multiple challenges, COVID 19 being only the most recent, he has managed to execute the office far better than I anticipated. No new wars, lots of new judges, de-regulation, tax cuts, a booming pre-COVID economy which led to very low unemployment generally and record lows for Blacks and Latinos. He has shown remarkable restraint in the face of the Antifa/BLM provocations and deference to the place of the States in the American Constitution on both COVID and the riots. For a rank amateur, often advised by people who did not share his agenda, Trump’s first term was a success.
Which is just one of the reasons I think he will be given a second term.
There are lots of others. Up until he beat COVID (we hope) in a weekend, Trump was running a real, old time, campaign. Flying into swing states and doing hanger rallies in places no Presidential candidate has been to in a century. Pulling 10,000 here, 20,000 there. And, of course, harvesting the data on all the people who wanted tickets.
The boat parades (apparently not organized by the campaign), truck parades and car parades, the spontaneous rally outside Walter Reed, even the Trump supporters greeting Biden when he occasionally campaigns, all indicate real enthusiasm for Trump. Biden’s campaign knows it can’t put on this sort of show so it is not even trying.
Trump is, first and foremost, a showman. He loves the crowds, the cheers, the signs. He has developed a rally “patter” with entertaining asides, imitations, jokes, insults all worked into the teleprompter material. His timing isn’t perfect but he never runs into “Please clap.” moments. Most of all, Trump always looks like he is having a ton of fun being with his people.
Now, if that was the whole of the Trump campaign it might very well beat the lame effort of the Dems and Joe Biden; but it is not:
“Although Stepien faces an unprecedented challenge — trailing in some national polls by double-digits with an unpopular incumbent in the midst of a pandemic — he has what Republicans believe is a crucial advantage over Democratic opponent Joe Biden: the Republican Party’s sophisticated, billion-dollar get-out-the vote operation.
Trump Victory, the joint operation between the RNC and the Trump campaign, has an army of 2,000 paid field staffers in 17 states and more than 2 million volunteers making phone calls and knocking on doors. The field operation claims to have made more than 90 million voter contacts in the cycle, including 12 million door knocks since they resumed the practice in June.
In just the last week, according to Trump Victory spokesman Rick Gorka, volunteers have knocked on more than 533,000 doors across the key states of North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Georgia.” cnn (September 10, 2020)
For years political consultants maintained that campaigns were won with advertising mainly on TV. Markets were saturated, consultants well paid – it was like selling soap. Now, fewer and fewer people are watching TV and if they are they have more than five channels to watch. National markets have collapsed, local markets are fighting for a share of fewer and fewer viewers. People get their news, their entertainment and their political views from the fragmented, siloed world of the internet. On the internet you can target very specifically, but you cannot really reach an undifferentiated mass audience.
Trump’s campaign figured that out in 2016 but it has had four years to figure out how to bypass both TV, mainstream media and the internet’s silos. A phone call is fine but the ultimate outreach to the undecided voter in key states is good, old fashioned, door knocking. It’s a big country, but in the states which matter, hundreds of thousands of direct contacts and a big data operation can make a huge difference.
Demographics matter too and here Trump has a huge advantage, he has nowhere to go but up with black Americans and Latinos. In 2016 Trump got 8% of black votes. According to exit polls in 2016 Trump got 29% of the Latino vote. For the past four years Trump has made a point of courting black and Latino voters. More importantly, in the pre-Covid economy employment rates for both groups hit historic highs. Will that translate to votes? I suspect it will, the question is how many. Much is made of the “shy” Trump vote. Realistically, you would have to be a very brave black person in a black community, to show any support for Trump. We’ll see how that goes but a tiny increase – and I mean 3% – in Trump voting in black and Latino demographics would have huge electoral consequences.
The final piece of the Trump victory is the gift of Joe Biden. No one hates Joe in the way people hated Hillary. He’s old, a bit dazed, corrupt, lousy at retail politics, bereft of policy and saddled with a VP candidate someone referred to as Hillary in blackface. But no one hates him. They just don’t like him very much. Even his supporters have bumper stickers saying “Settle for Biden”.
Incumbency is tough to defeat. People know who Donald Trump is. There are plenty of people who didn’t vote for Trump in 2016 and are looking forward to not voting for him in 2020. Just as there are lots who voted for Trump and will again. But no one is affirmatively voting for Joe Biden.
Which leads to the final reason why Trump will win. People who support Trump will all show up, most of the people who hate Trump will show up too, though likely not all – and there is no one who actually supports Joe Biden. Elections are decided by the people who actually vote. Trump’s job is to make sure every single one of his supporters and leaners (secret or otherwise) feels motivated enough to vote. And that is exactly what Trump and his organization are doing.
Assume for the moment that this is true (which I honestly don’t think is the case.) Even at his age and weight, with decent treatment, he’ll be fighting fit for the next debate. Takes a bit of time off the rally trail, isolates in the White House. Does the HCQ. He’ll be fine.
But now the next debate is Lazarus vs. Sleepy Joe.
The “seemingly frail” President kicks Joe’s butt across the country.
Donald Trump made a fortune in reality TV. Some of his best friends run the “pro wrestling” world. How do you make the other guy the “heel”?
Get sick, recover, debate.
Trump won 2020 tonight. It was cheap and ugly and it will work.
My eldest son and I have a lively online conversation which has gone on for years. We disagree about a lot but recently we have agreed that the stock market is heading towards a crash. Not an if, a when. Oddly, we both see the end of September as the likely date. Simon cites market history, I am inclined to go with people understanding “events” and responding to that understanding. Here are a few.
The American Election Whether you are a Trump fan or a Biden supporter does not matter because the Election itself is the market event. Markets could live with either a Trump or a Biden victory; what they cannot live with is the growing possibility that the Election will not be decided on Election Day. In critical states such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, mail in ballots cannot begin to be counted until the polls are actually closed on Election Day. (You can get all the details in this excellent article, Why We Are Facing The Biggest Election Nightmare In Modern American History No Matter Who Ends Up Winning by Michael Snyder.)
Leaving aside the issues of fraud which arise with mail in ballots, the biggest problem is just how unlikely it is that we will know who has won the Presidency for days, perhaps weeks, after the polls have formally closed. The very definition of uncertainty.
Markets hate uncertainty and as the likelihood of a protracted vote count becomes more obvious the overall market is likely to become, in a word, skittish. Given that the general markets in the US, and to a degree in Canada, are already at all time highs, that will certainly tend towards defensive selling and profit taking. Which, in normal times, would actually be healthy. But these are not normal times.
COVID I think a plausible argument can be made that COVID, the disease, is abating. Case counts may pop here and there but that is almost always an artifact of more testing. Hospitalizations and death counts are low and going lower. The return to school will probably pop case counts in some places, but it is unlikely to have much impact on how many people get really, really sick. As one writer said about Sweden, “All the kindling is gone.” Which is pretty harsh but also, likely, accurate. COVID kills the elderly and the compromised; it is no fun for the rest of us but it is survivable.
However, the economic consequences of COVID, consequences which are entirely political rather than medical, are ripping through Western economies. Lockdowns, business closures, mandatory masking, broad layoffs, work from home, mortgage deferrals, evictions and eviction moratoriums are all in full swing. The idea of flattening the curve has given way to the goal of either avoiding or mitigating “the second wave”. The “vaccine” is variously “a month or two away”, “ready in 2021” or “very unlikely to be effective whenever it’s ready”.
Of course, the entire COVID “crisis” has become politicized with those on the left convinced that without masks and shutdowns we will all die, and those on the right certain that unless the economy restarts we’ll all die poor. Maskers see non-maskers as selfish, non-maskers see masks as a symbol of conformity. Democratic states wear their masks and their crashing economies as proud symbols of anti-Trump resistance. And so on.
From the market’s perspective the main effect of COVID is the creation of fear and uncertainty. While there are plenty of Robinhood traders happy to make good money day trading, there are also plenty of people eyeing the exits and wondering if “the top” has, in fact, arrived. The Robinhooders represent a tiny fraction of the very deep American stock market. If, as will almost certainly happen, they are hit with significant losses on their most recent FANG trades or if Tesla sinks like a stone, the overall markets won’t miss them. However, if the broader market becomes worried, the dash for the exits could be very ugly indeed. A so-called “second wave” of COVID, even if it is largely fictional could trigger a rush to cash out.
Antifa, BLM, protests, riots and arson In themselves, the various demonstrations and riots inspired by BLM and made nasty by Antifa, are largely irrelevant to all but a few hundred square blocks of a few American cities. (Yes, the craven pandering of big business and major league sports is obnoxious, but it is also very much a passing moment.) Applying a bit of crowd control and arresting leaders and organizers can, and has, shut the riots down where it has been allowed by politicians to happen. So far, BLM and Antifa have been denied the martyrs they need to grow.
In terms of economics, Antifa/BLM have caused several billion dollars worth of damage and made retailers more reluctant to locate in certain areas of certain American cities. However, America is a big place with a big economy, so the costs are relatively tiny. (Not so tiny for small businesses which have been torched.)
Psychologically and politically, the idea that there are nightly riots and that downtowns of relatively small cities like Kenosha could be razed is just one more shock to the system. The fact that police forces have been told to stand down in the face of the rioters and that state level prosecutors have declined to charge the rioters, erodes the faith people have in the overall system.
The fact that there are disturbances virtually every night drives home the message that there is no safety in the US. This is not actually true, the bulk of the United States will never see a BLM/Antifa protest much less riot; but that doesn’t actually matter. The riots and the seemingly impossible to appease demonstrators create a mood, a sense of unease.
Markets reflect the confidence of investors. Where that confidence is eroded the conditions are created for a crunch.
March and the Second Wave In late March we had what people called a mini-crash. The Dow, S&P 500, NASDAQ dropped hard as did the markets in other G-20 countries. At one point virtually every market in the world was off 25%. At the time commentators suggested this was a one time reaction to the economic effects of COVID.
The March crash very quickly reversed itself. The Fed turned on the money pipe and markets all over the world staged V shaped recoveries to the point where, last week the DOW, S&P 500 and NASDAQ were all at or near their all time highs.
But is it real? The March mini-crash suggested that the markets could be spooked easily. That they could recognize the immense economic implications of COVID. However, the speed of the recovery to new highs, suggests that the mini-crash did nothing to re-align the market’s value with the underlying realities of a collapsed GDP, very high unemployment and an accelerating “real” inflation rate.
Market crashes are sometimes triggered by a single event, the collapse of a bank, a commodity crash, or even a small war; but, more often, they happen when investors “lose confidence”. The end of the dot com bubble was not about the internet suddenly being useless, it was about millions of people saying, at more or less the same time, none of these dot com companies make any sense at these prices. It also happened when the overall economy was strong, American politics were in balance and there was no political pandemic battering the real economy.
The V shaped recovery from the March mini-crash suggests strongly that the real “correction” has not occurred yet. Remember, that in the dot com bubble and crash the NASDAQ went from a high of 4798 in March 2000 to a low of just of 1000 in two years.
I was delighted to see that BLM and Antifa have taken over a small area of Seattle declaring it “autonomous”, forbidding the police from entering and putting up perimeter fencing. I was even happier to note the emergence of a seriously alpha black guy named Raz as the self-appointed warlord of the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.
There are all sorts of hard heads, up to and including President Trump himself, who want this nonsense ended right now. “Send in the police, the National Guard, the 82 Airborne, Seal Team 6!” Crush the Antifa louts like the roaches they are.
Tactically and strategically sending in law enforcement, much less the military, would be a monumental error.
Antifa (and to a lesser degree, BLM) contains some very smart, very well read, people and those people have made it their business to look at asymmetrical warfare in detail. They are well aware that they cannot defend the CHAZ against even a token show of force on the part of the authorities. However, not for nothing is armed end of Antifa called the John Brown Gun Club.
John Brown was an abolitionist. He was convinced that slavery was against God and, very much in second place, against the principles up which the United States had been founded. He wanted to start a serious insurection and to that end, with a small force, attacked an arsenal at Harper’s Ferry Virginia in October 1859. He succeeded but word reached the Federal government and troops were sent to quell the insurrection. Under the direction of then Colonel Robert E. Lee, Brown was wounded and then captured. He was then tried for treason and hung. Just before his hanging on December 2, 1859, Brown uttered a prophetic forewarning of the coming Civil War: “I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.”
Brown was right and the Civil War began a bit later in 1861.
The strategists at Antifa will have also studied the various interations of the Irish Rebellion, the defeat of the British in India, the overthrow of apartheid in South Africa and the various actions of the Palestinians against the Israelis. Of course they have, in many ways it is impossible to study history or political science or “studies” without being exposed to these David and Goliath contests.
The brighter lights of Antifa will have understood the essential lesson of these struggles: you win by losing. Ideally in the bloodiest way possible.
Insurrectionists, at least the smart ones, know that they are not fighting the police or national guard or 82 Airborne with any hope of winning. Instead they are trying to lose to an enemy whose excesses will revolt the general run of the population.
Now, to beat an insurrection, you have to take away its oxygen and let it choke out on its own. For CHAZ the oxygen is attention. The romance of the barricades and audacity of insurrection attracts media attention which allows the Antifa people to seize the mic and make assorted demands. (Including, charmingly, a return of racial segregation.)
Any escalation on the part of the authorities will simply feed the flames. Sending in the riot police under a cloud of tear gas and a hail of rubber bullets (cliches but that’s how this stuff is written) is ideal fuel for the Antifa fire. All the better if a big, strong, articulate black man like Raz is gunned down.
At this moment the very best thing the authorities can do is a very vigorous “nothing”. No response whatsoever. Ignore the demands, ignore the spray paint, ignore the barricades and the stolen fences.
Let Antifa and BLM dig themselves in good and deep. Let the inherent tension between Brother Raz and his people and the revolutionary intellectuals of Antifa have a chance to work their magic. Let the logistical nightmare of 500 extra people in a small neighbourhood work itself out. Keep the water and power on. Perhaps jam cell and wifi signals. Surveil the Hell out of the place and don’t be shy. Keep a large and obvious drone presence so that the insurrectionists know they are being watched.
The ignominious collapse of the CHAZ is only a matter of time and patience. It might take a week, it might take a month, but without martyrs to sustain it, CHAZ will join Occupy in the scrapheap of history.
Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist #65, identified the greatest danger in an impeachment is “that the decision [to impeach] will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt”
President Trump’s impeachment was silly from the go but now, wait, the none too stable geniuses of the Democrat delegation to the House of Representatives are going to “hold” the Articles of Impeachment until they are assured of a fair trial in the Senate.
Did I mention Trump is a very lucky man?
I don’t think he was in any danger of conviction by the Senate but, if the Dems are dumb enough to hold the Articles – and if McConnell is willing to sit on his hands rather than setting his own rules – the Democrat Party’s vote will simply bleed out. Either Trump is a “clear and present danger” to the Constitution of the United States or, well, we can wait a couple of weeks, until the New Year, maybe March, to save the virtue of America.
The Democrats had one thing going for them, sheer, blind hate for Trump. Pause and that’s gone.
The Constitution will be just fine. If RBG keels over in the next few months the “impeached” President of the United States will do his Constitutional duty and nominate her successor. And Mitch will see that successor through the Senate.
I am old enough that I watched the Nixon Impeachment and the Clinton Impeachment. In both cases, it was hard to argue that there was not evidence of misuse of office. That evidence was marshalled by serious people in a set of televised hearings which, regardless of which “side” you were on, underscored the gravity of the accusations and the procedural, if not political, propriety of the process. In each case, there was a formal vote in the House of Representatives to commence the proceedings. The minority party was granted its full rights to put its side of the case.
This does not appear to be the intent in the Impeachment of Donald Trump. For details, it is well worth reading Sundance at The Conservative Treehouse.
This time out, the Democratic majority in the House seems willing to proceed on the allegations of an unidentified “whistleblower” who claims to have been told by others that Trump exerted pressure on the Ukrainian government to investigate Crowdstrike and whether or not Joe Biden exerted pressure (as he said he did) on the Ukrainian government to fire its Prosecutor who was looking into the affairs of a company which had hired Biden’s son, Hunter, for $50,000 a month to be a director on a Board which rarely met.
Trump – unlike Nixon or Clinton – believes that he has done nothing wrong and has released notes on the call as well as the whistleblower’s complaint. People will see what they want to see in these documents but there is a distinct absence of the smoking gun.
Which, apparently, does not matter to the Democrat majority in the House. Impeachment is a political act and the Democrats are apparently willing to use their majority to pass Articles of Impeachment irrespective of whether they in any way disclose a high crime or misdemeanour. The quaint legalisms of evidence, witnesses and actual misconduct have been thrown aside in an all out political hit on Trump.
I don’t think it will work. Partially for the reasons outlined by Conrad Black in his brilliant piece on why Trump will win big in 2020, partially because there is no public appetite for Impeachment.
With Nixon and, to a lesser degree, Clinton the public was scandalized by the President’s behaviour in office. With Trump, “un-Presidential” behaviour has already been priced in. Leaning on the Ukrainians, properly or improperly, is unlikely to fire up public indignation in the same way as a massive cover-up of a two-bit crime or Presidential blow jobs did. It’s a tough world and Trump is willing to throw America’s weight around. For his base this is a plus, for a significant majority of Americans it is very likely a non-issue, for Democratic partisans, it is just one more “outrage” in a string of outrages going back to Trump putting ketchup on his steak.
Impeachment is political and if Trump and his people are smart they are going to make it very costly for Democrat Representatives in areas where Trump is strong to turn up on the day the Articles of Impeachment are presented for a vote. This is good old retail politics. Taking the Trump rally machine into marginal Democratic districts and calling out the Representative. Astro-turfing the hell out of their emails and phone lines. Cutting deals with those Democrats one by one so that Pelosi gradually sees her majority dwindle and, perhaps, disappear entirely. (And Trump now has a pretty good idea of how to work with the US Senate and hold the 33 Republicans he needs to simply crush the Impeachment.)
This is the sort of straight, counter punching, fight Trump is good at. It gives him licence to let loose on the Democratic “leadership” for wasting the country’s time and not doing their legislative jobs. Trump will treat his Impeachment as a campaigning opportunity. He’ll be able to do this because the Democrats are proceeding with such an obviously political, obviously bad faith, evidence-free, hatchet job.
The consequence of the Democrat’s phoney Impeachment will, at a minimum, be the end of the Biden campaign and a huge reduction in interest in the ongoing Democrat Presidential Campaign. It will highlight the radicalization of the Democratic Party.
Trump’s road to victory in 2020 became a lot smoother when Pelosi’s intelligent, politically astute, resistance to Impeachment collapsed in the face of a confected complaint of the purest hearsay about Presidential actions which a large part of the country, now that they know about them will likely support.
Plus, and this is when it gets fun for Trump, between now and Christmas, there will be an Inspector General’s Report on the mis-use of FISA warrants to surveil the Trump campaign, the case against General Flynn will likely collapse and at least a few of the people involved in the ongoing FBI/DOJ/IC campaign against Trump will be indicted. With luck, some of those will cut deals to implicate higher-ups and, by Spring, the whole scummy Obama administration will be in the frame.
Trump will be insufferable and will ruthlessly mock the dim Democrats who thought this thin gruel would power a serious Impeachment.
Timing is, however, everything. Had Biden run last time he would likely have beaten Trump simply because he was not Hillary and no one actually hates him. But he didn’t.
We are in for a year of really nasty campaigning in the clown car which is the Democratic nomination. Biden, and the rest of them, will go negative early and often and The Donald will egg them all on. The poor person who emerges as the candidate will have been savaged by their own party. And every bit of it will be kept in the GOP oppo files.
I was somewhat sorry to see Biden come into the race. He has earned a graceful retirement and now he is going to be shredded by very nasty, very toxic, people who are not grateful for his service. He will almost certainly lose despite using a base pleasing lie (Charlotteville) to kick off his campaign.
He’s too white, too male and too old to satisfy the 2020 Democratic Party.
Which is a bit sad but also more than a little real.
It appears that the US Government is “shut down” as of a couple of hours ago.
Because the US Government traditionally does its best work between Christmas Eve – which Trump has declared a day off for Federal Workers – and New Years.
Say what you will about Trump, and I say plenty, he is not an idiot. Right now he can have a “federal government shutdown” for twelve days and no one will notice.
I don’t think the wall or the big steel fence or whatever else Trump wants on the border is a brilliant idea. But it is a campaign promise and Trump needs to take steps to keep it.
For the moment, Trump puts the Democrat’s and the Republican’s feet to the fire with very little downside to Trump. And he can just keep going. The fact is that only about a quarter of federal employees are actually laid off in a “shutdown”. Bets are that most of them are not hugely significant to the function of the US.