If you fail to get what you want through the democratic process you can use a shutdown to try to do an end run.  It’s a desperate last ditch attempt at best because it couldn’t get approved through normal channels.


Here’s the infamous moment where Trump says he’ll proudly own the shutdown:



Did Trump tweet about an Obama shutdown?

There is a supposed tweet going around where Trump apparently calls Obama weak and says responsibility is ultimately his for the shutdown at that time.  In spite of what the Internet says, he never really tweeted directly about it but he commented extensively during a Fox and Friends interview.

He’s an excerpt from politifact:

In a September 2013 Fox & Friends phone interview, Trump blasted Obama for failing to “get everybody in a room.”

“If you say who gets fired, it always has to be the top. Problems start from the top, and they have to get solved from the top, and the president’s the leader, and he’s got to get everybody in a room, and he’s got to lead. And he doesn’t do that, he doesn’t like doing that, that’s not his strength.”

Trump also said that further down in history “when they talk about the government shutdown, they’re going to be talking about the president of the United States, who the president was at that time. They’re not going to be talking about who was the head of the House, the head the Senate, who’s running things in Washington. So I really think the pressure is on the president.”

How many shutdowns have there been?

Here’s a list of all the shutdowns. They didn’t become a tool until the seventies.

2018 (President Donald Trump): Dec. 22 to (ongoing)
2018 (President Donald Trump): Jan. 20 to Jan. 23 – 3 days
2018 (President Donald Trump): Feb. 9 – 1 day.
2013 (President Barack Obama): Oct. 1 to Oct. 17 – 16 days
1995-1996 (President Bill Clinton): December 5, 1995, to January 6, 1996, – 21 days
1995 (President Bill Clinton): Nov. 13 to 19 – 5 days
1990 (President George H.W. Bush): October 5 to 9 – 3 days
1987 (President Ronald Reagan): December 18 to December 20 – 1 day
1986 (President Ronald Reagan): October 16 to October 18 – 1 day
1984 (President Ronald Reagan): October 3 to October 5 – 1 day
1984 (President Ronald Reagan): September 30 to October 3 – 2 days
1983 (President Ronald Reagan): November 10 to November 14 – 3 days
1982 (President Ronald Reagan): December 17 to December 21 – 3 days
1982 (President Ronald Reagan): September 30 to October 2 – 1 day
1981 (President Ronald Reagan): November 20 to November 23 – 2 days
1979 (President Jimmy Carter): September 30 to October 12 – 11 days
1978 (President Jimmy Carter): September 30 to October 18 18 days
1977 (President Jimmy Carter): November 30 to December 9 – 8 days
1977 (President Jimmy Carter): October 31 to November 9 – 8 days
1977 (President Jimmy Carter): September 30 to October 13 – 12 days
1976 (President Gerald Ford): September 30 to October 11 – 10 days

The shutdown under Obama was notable because the ACA had run the gauntlet of the democratic process but the GOP still didn’t want it to become law.  So they held funding for it hostage hoping to block at least part of it.

Who has “won” the shutdowns?

Shutdowns are hard to analyze because the shutdown can come from various sources for various reasons.

A majority of people feel the current shutdown is the GOP’s fault, and specifically Trump’s, because he said he would “proudly own it” (see video above), it’s about funding for his wall which does not have good public approval, and it didn’t happen until Trump decided not to sign the funding bill that had passed both houses.

The GOP was responsible for the one shutdown under Obama as they were specifically refusing to pass a bill to approve funding for a portion of the ACA.

We won’t try to analyze who “won” for the shutdowns as it’s contentious at best who was responsible for the shutdown and what the outcome accomplished.

But it’s probably safe to say no one really “wins” a shutdown. Government workers suffer, citizens suffer, and democracy suffers as the purpose of a shutdown is to simply break the rules of democracy.