Near the middle of the longest government shutdown in US history, pop-icon Cher tweeted that Nancy Pelosi—who had assumed control of the House of Representatives—should end the crisis and give Trump his "fucking money." It was a cry from the wilderness of two unbelievably horrible years (we forgive you, Cher). But it was also, considering the recent changes in Washington, the worst possible advice. For one, and I will not go beyond this one in this post, Trump's shutdown of the government was not for the wall or even his rabidly racist base, but an attempt to retain the type of power he enjoyed during his first two years of presidency.

Sponsored
Just because you didn’t report doesn’t mean it didn’t happen
Free, confidential, inclusive support and information about sexual assault is available 24/7

What Trump has yet to openly admit, and what everyone else knows, is this: The GOP badly lost the midterms of 2018. It was not even close. Suburb after suburb turned blue. Women entered the House in historic numbers. Scott Walker of Wisconsin is no more. Even though the GOP retained the Senate, they did not crush the Dems, who were in a much more vulnerable position than their opposition. It's not a coincidence that the longest shutdown in history happened exactly when Trump had lost a considerable chunk of his power. And it is likely that he was forced to accept defeat to Pelosi because the very rich (the true rulers) began to see cracks in labor (particularly at the airports) that could become a nationwide avalanche. Teen Vogue called for a general strike. The 1 percent were being laughed at in Davos at the World Economic Forum. US cash repatriation promised by the billionaire class actually plunged after the tax cut.

But for Trump to give up hostage-taking was, in essence, to give up the only tool left that he could not so much use, but understand (both are totally one in Trump).

And this is the key to Trump's power. It only works if Trump knows how to work it. And because he is, as a political thinker and actor, exceptionally impoverished, the idea of having to actually do something more than what automatically springs directly from the severe limits of his personality (in the way a spider springs at a fly in its web), will prove to be daunting, if not impossible. This is why Nancy Pelosi could not back down. She had to force her opponent out of politics as 'just Trump' (operable), and into politics as a plurality, a strategy, as maneuvers, as diplomacy (inoperable).

At this moment, you can expect this realization to dawn on more and more members of his party. And though they will continue to be the assholes that they are, they will begin to see the future rather than the present as the main point of interest and political investment. Also, expect the hawks to attempt to fill this new vacuum. Expect more talk about war. War in Venezuela is already bubbling up in the press. Weirdly, war is more likely with a weak Trump than a strong one. Cadet Bone Spurs is not in his element in when it comes to the complexities of building a case (consensus) for war. Those political tools are foreign to him. But not, as history has shown, to a GWB.

Trump will continue to do damage (believe that), but a major part of his spell/power has been shattered. And his insane tweets this weekend (no need to link to them) look more insane not because they are more insane, but due to the fact that they do not have the same backing (both the House and the Senate) they enjoyed before the midterms.

Support The Stranger

And now, for a bit of news from The Hill:

Nearly two-thirds of Americans said they are against President Trump declaring a national emergency to direct the construction of a wall along the southern border, a poll released Monday showed.

A Monmouth University poll found that 64 percent of Americans would disapprove of Trump using emergency powers to direct military funds to build a border wall, while 34 percent said they would support the move.

Seventy-one percent of Republicans would support this move. That is a fucking low percentage for Republicans. Indeed, dangerously low.