Political Science professors weigh in on government shutdown

Sebastian Herr

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The partial government shutdown that started in late December has now dragged into the middle of January, and holds the record as the longest shutdown in U.S. history.

Some of Pacific University’s Political Science faculty gave their thoughts and predictions on the current stalemate over funding for a wall on the southern border. With an apparent lack of behind-the-scenes negotiating going on, Dr. Jim Moore gave his thoughts.

“I think this will end with President Trump declaring some kind of emergency and using funds from other programs to start the wall,” Moore said. This is a sentiment President Donald Trump has already publicly stated as possible alternative to secure funding for the wall.

Professor Jeff Seward, on the other hand, said that Trump will receive the most pressure to concede since he is the one that provoked the shutdown. The tape of Trump claiming credit still exists, despite how much Trump tries to shift blame elsewhere.

Whether this pressure will actually result in Trump conceding is anyone’s guess.

Professor Paul Snell decided not to predict the outcome but said, “President Trump is fighting for political survival, while Democrats are fighting for their soul…whoever swerves first loses a lot.”

As for how long the shutdown will continue, the faculty all cited the dug-in personalities as a factor for the unpredictability of the situation.

“I have very little sense how long it will go,” Moore said. “The personalities involved are very different than in past long shutdowns.”

However, as consequences of the shutdown pile up Seward predicts it will end by the middle of February at the latest.

“I would be surprised if it lasts longer than that. Congressional Republicans will start to abandon Trump on this,” Seward said.

Whatever the outcome of this shutdown is, there still remains two more years of the current Congress and administration, which begs the question: Is this just the first of many?

Moore believes it is, because of the partisan politics at play.

“The 2017-19 Republican House and Senate passed spending bills that did not include funding for the wall and President Trump signed them,” Moore said. “Now, with Democrats in control of the House, he has refused to sign the same types of – in fact, the identical – bills he signed before.”

Comparatively, Seward does not think we will see any more shutdowns before the 2020 elections because no one will want to take the political risk closer to election time.

However the government shutdown plays out, we can all agree with Snell that, “For all of our sakes, let us hope that our leaders figure this out sooner rather than later.”

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