Wall Street Journal Editorial 12.19.2018
For a flavor of politics in Washington next year, take a look at this final week of the lame-duck Congress. Republicans on Wednesday essentially agreed to sign letters of safe passage out of town, kicking spending and immigration issues into 2019 with a short-term continuing resolution to fund the government for two months.
The GOP rout was probably inevitable after President Trump volunteered last week to take credit for a government shutdown that would begin on the weekend before Christmas. He dared Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi not to give him the $5 billion he demanded for border security, and they were only too happy to oblige.
The price of retreat, alas, appears to be worthy legislation that Republicans had hoped to pass, including a Jobs 3.0 package of reforms for capital markets that passed the House in July with huge bipartisan majorities. Mr. Schumer is killing it. Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell had hoped to confirm a batch of judicial and executive-branch nominees in the usual end-of-term rush, but Mr. Schumer is blocking that too.
Welcome to 2019. Democrats are arming to rout Mr. Trump from first day to last, and they are hoping the President will help them with similarly self-harming public gestures like his shutdown boast. If Mr. Trump has any hope of winning even small victories he is going to have to unite Republicans behind him and make the public case with discipline and consistency. We know that’s all but impossible for Mr. Trump, but it’s the truth. His failed border wall funding strategy is the exact opposite of the way he will have to maneuver.