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"Nancy Pelosi is a badass." That sentiment is flashing across Facebook and Twitter feeds around the world right now. On January 16, Pelosi let Trump know that she would be cutting off his big State of the Union speech if the government remained closed. Trump decided that throwing a tantrum and canceling Pelosi's trip to see the troops in a combat area was the right way to deal with her. It has backfired and Pelosi is now regaining the respect of Democrats and more moderate Republicans alike.
After Trump realized that shutting down the government would have a negative effect on his popularity ratings, the only numbers that he seems to care about, he opted to try and shift the blame to the Democrats. This after he told Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that he would be "proud to shut the government down" and that he "wouldn't blame" Democrats. Though given what is known about him, the changing of the mind is not entirely unexpected. Yet, most Americans do place the blame strictly on Trump and want him to work to reopen the government, so that the 800,000 people who have not been paid in nearly a month can stop worrying about their finances.
Part of the reason that blame seems to be on Trump is that he himself has said that the President is responsible for keeping the government open, plus the little matter of him saying that he would own it. The more interesting part though is Nancy Pelosi keeping Democrats on message and on the same page as her. In the past, liberals would have been all over the place in their messaging, but in this instance, they are all saying the same thing. Trump is to blame for this mess and he alone must act to get us out of it. Sound familiar? Trump said during the 2016 campaign that he was the only person in the world that could take care of certain issues, and now those words are biting him on the backside.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is also playing right into Pelosi and the Democrats hands. He refuses to vote on any bill to reopen the government, that Trump won't approve. No matter that there should be more than enough votes to overcome a potential veto from Trump. Pelosi is using this to her advantage, having the house pass bills every day to fund the departments that need to be funded, all the while saying that there is a checks and balances system in place for a reason. Slowly, she is turning this crisis into a 2020 election talking point, and Republicans are becoming scared of how they will be able to wiggle out of it.
Strategically, Republicans are in a no-win situation. Giving into Trump, who himself is giving into the antics of Ann Coulter, leaves them in a perilous situation and vulnerable to Democrat challengers. On the other hand, by playing the party line, they are satisfying a shrinking but vocal base that could help keep their coffers lined with money for their campaigns. It's the ultimate catch 22 and Pelosi is making it impossible for them to find a winning solution.
Winning. It's what Trump promised the American people, specifically his base when they elected him. Yet, after two years of controlling all three branches of the government, just a bit of resistance from Democrats has them folding faster than a house of cards on a windy day. With Pelosi now the de facto leader of the Democrats, she is proving that her iron will and shrewd political maneuverings have been sorely needed. It needs to be said again: Nancy Pelosi is a badass.