The Atlantic

What Will Trump Do If He Realizes He’s Lost the Shutdown Fight?

Trump’s push for a border wall has so far followed a predictable, four-act script. But what comes in the fifth act?
Source: Carlos Barria / Reuters

Donald Trump has again folded in his negotiations with congressional Democrats—accepting a second budget deal that includes nothing close to the $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall that he demanded. This outcome was entirely predictable. The sequence of events that led here has occurred again and again when Trump negotiates. Think of it as a play in four acts.

Act I: Trump Invents a Crisis

Since entering the presidential race, Trump has relentlessly described unauthorized immigration——as a national emergency. In the final days before last November’s elections, he returned to that theme with a vengeance. In a November 1 from the Roosevelt Room, he offered “an update to the American people regarding the

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