The Slatest

Credit Where It’s Due: Democratic Leaders Have Not Caved Like a Bunch of Weenies on the Border Wall

Pelosi speaks as the three men watch her in what appears to be a White House driveway.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin outside the White House on Wednesday.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

One of the criticisms of the Democratic Party that has been made approximately one billion times since Barack Obama took power in 2008 is that its leaders are too quick to compromise. From the decision to leave the “public option” out of the Affordable Care Act, to Obama’s offer to make cuts to entitlement programs in 2013, to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s agreement to “fast-track” the confirmation of judicial nominees in October 2018, a pattern has emerged: Dems bend over backwards to make concessions to Republican interests and talking points but Republicans never, ever return the favor.

The border wall-shutdown standoff is exactly the kind of situation in which another Democratic fold would seem to be, er, in the cards. And yet not only have Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi not folded, it doesn’t seem like they’ve even thought about folding, despite some grumbling by new House members from swing districts. It’s gotten to the point where Donald Trump invited several centrist-ish rank-and-file Democrats to have lunch with him Tuesday without caucus leaders, ostensibly to woo and seduce them, but it didn’t work; none of them went. Pelosi even got off a good zing about it:

Democrats: Not in disarray! They also, per multiple polls, hold the significantly more popular position on just about every shutdown and wall-related question—and looking forward, an ABC-Washington Post survey found that respondents opposed Trump’s oft-threatened plan to launch the wall project via a declaration of national emergency by a blowout-level, mercy-rule 66–31 margin.

We will need to update our political stereotypes if this kind of thing continues—and, in fact, the Onion is already on it.