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Learning from the Catch-22 Shutdown

E.J. Dionne Jr. on

Thus the Catch-22 Shutdown, morally necessary and politically unwinnable.

So what now? The moderates and the progressives should stop bickering and push a recalcitrant House and Senate Republicans who say they want a humane Dreamers solution to take a stand. Activists should direct their energy the same way.

Math is a stubborn thing. Republicans have the votes and Democrats don't. There can be little hope of progress unless the GOP's non-nativists break with their leaders.

In the meantime, left and center must link progressive immigration policy to progressive economic initiatives that also speak to red-state voters who have been sold out by Trump. They were stumbling in this direction during the shutdown when they spoke up for adequate funding for community health centers and for combatting the opioid crisis.

Republicans are crowing about "winning" the shutdown. But their victory will be short-lived if Democrats (and Republicans willing to work with them) shift the ground of the discussion from tactics to larger purposes. This is a long fight and, like it or not, the endpoint is Nov. 6. Only voters can change the balance of power.

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E.J. Dionne's email address is ejdionne@washpost.com. Twitter: @EJDionne.

(c) 2018, Washington Post Writers Group


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