February 13, 2019
The United States recently underwent its longest government shutdowns in the history of the union. The Federal Government formally shutdown on December 22nd, and it took 35 days for it to be opened again.
With midterm winners being sworn in and candidates starting to announce their campaigns for the 2020 election, how did this shutdown affect our nation and what is the future of American politics?
The problem behind the shutdown found its roots before Donald Trump was elected. The Trump campaign’s main concern was improving border security, specifically building a wall on our southern border with Mexico. This promise widened the gap between his supporters and opponents. Many people opposed this view on moral grounds while many steadfast conservatives clung to this idea and believe the wall to be a solution to many of America’s illegal immigration problems. This audacious claim helped Trump win enough support from his followers in the election; now, two years since he was elected, he is finally trying to follow through on that promise.
Ever since his first week in office, President Trump has made several bills pertaining to immigration in his effort to “Make America Great Again.” He passed Executive Order 13769, which banned entry into the U.S. from several Middle Eastern countries. This Executive Order was met with much protest, but also was applauded by some politicians who say it will help keep America safe from outside threats. Two years have passed since then, and now the eyes of the whole government have shifted south.
President Trump is finally trying to deliver on his wall promise and in the meantime is making the gap between the political aisles even greater. He is currently seeking $5.7 billion dollars in funding for the construction of the wall, and this demand is what politicians are having such a difficult time discussing. This disagreement between the two parties became heated and the President’s demand was repeatedly denied, so the only thing Trump could do was shut down the government until one side compromises.
The government ended up being reopened after 35 days, if only temporarily. But the damage was already done. So what is the future of politics in America post-shutdown? We are two years away from the next Inauguration day and several politicians are already discussing their intentions to run for President. Trump will surely face competition from politicians like former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake or Governor John Kasich of Ohio. Donald Trump still has a supportive backing which will most likely win him his party’s nomination. On the Democratic side since the loss of Hillary Clinton in 2016, there seems to be no major front runner for the nomination. Democratic party leaders like Nancy Pelosi seem unlikely candidates while longstanding faces of the party like Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders have expressed interest in running in 2020. Perhaps we will see the rise of a new generation of politicians like Beto O’ Rourke or private citizens interested in the election like Mark Cuban.
With a government shutdown of unprecedented length, it is hard to say exactly what the aftermath will be. It affected many government workers and hurt the productivity of our nation so much that politicians will try to do everything they can to avoid another shutdown like this again. It is still unknown if Trump will force another shutdown to get the funds for his wall, or declare a state of emergency. Although the future is shrouded in uncertainty, it is important our politicians do the best thing to keep our country safe and to make this world a better place.