The U.S. political landscape in 2019 is already off to a rocky start as a partial U.S. government shutdown continued into the new year.
The shutdown began Dec. 22 and is now the longest in U.S. history having surpassed the previous record of 21 days. It’s also the 21st time the government has entered a shutdown since 1976.
During a shutdown, federal workers find themselves without paychecks as politicians squabble over where they should or shouldn’t allocate funding.
The longer a shutdown continues, the more its effects spill over to have adverse effects on the economy even beyond those directly affected.
This time around the shutdown stems from President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall.
He wants $5.7 billion for the project, which he has talked about plenty since his campaign.
While the wall is touted by Trump as necessary to increase border security and decrease illegal immigration across the southern border, the wall is far more symbolic than it is practical.
Just as the wall would create a physical divide and separation between two countries, it’s also a talking point that furthers the ever-growing gap between Republicans and Democrats emphasizing partisanship over compromise.
Immigration policy does need to be addressed, and there needs to be continued discussions and debate about immigration reform.
However, any solution will be complex and require compromise and ideas from both sides.
Democrats are now in control of the House, and it’s likely this will lead to a series of contentious moments between the House and the Republican-controlled Senate as well as Trump until another power shift.
Modern politics has also turned into a blame game for politicians and many citizens as well.
The focus is shifted away from “How can a problem be fixed?” to “Who is at fault for the problem?”
Pointing the finger only distracts from finding a solution.
New polls are being conducted to see who Americans believe is at fault for the lengthy and record-setting government shutdown.
In a poll conducted by PBS NewsHour and The Marist Poll, 54 percent overall consider Trump as primarily responsible for the shutdown.
However, when political affiliation is taken into account, unsurprisingly, 86 percent of Democrats consider Trump responsible, and 71 percent of Republicans think Democrats in Congress are responsible.
These polls highlight more of a sense of party loyalty than anything else even if there is an overall trend, and that party loyalty is really what slows progress toward finding effective solutions.
If Trump gets his wall, only time will tell what kind of an impact it would even have on immigration.
What’s almost certain, though, is that it wouldn’t fully address the issue and only continue to divide voters.