What must happen to avoid a second government shutdown?

Rice University
Office of Public Affairs / News & Media Relations


Amy McCaig

What must happen to avoid a second government shutdown?
Rice University political scientist weighs in

HOUSTON – (Jan. 28, 2019) – The U.S. government has reopened, but only temporarily. To remain open, a deal must be reached on border security. Rice University political scientist Paul Brace is available to discuss what must take place between now and Feb. 15 to avoid a second government shutdown.

Paul Brace

Paul Brace

As of now, Brace, the Clarence L. Carter Professor of Political Science in Rice’s School of Social Sciences, said he can’t envision anything changing.

“Bottom line: Trump needs a wall, or he is going to have a difficult path toward reelection,” he said. “And Pelosi and the Democrats have experienced victory, and I see no reason they would change their position.”

Although Trump can use emergency powers to build something on the border, it seems very likely his decision would be overruled in court, Brace said.

Opinion polls showed widespread opposition to the shutdown, with 70 percent saying the wall wasn’t worth it, Brace said. And other polls showed that the public blames Trump for the shutdown.

“For Trump, neither of his major options look fruitful,” he said. “He can expect another humiliating defeat with another shutdown, or he can go to court and very likely be dealt a humiliating loss there. Although he could campaign blaming the Democrats and the courts, that does not seem to be the strongest strategy.”

Although it’s possible Trump may scrape together funds from other sources to build something, it is unlikely to resemble the promised wall that Mexico was going to pay for, Brace said. And this will haunt him as he prepares for re-election.

“He’ll either have to use hyperbole to convince supporters a portion of a barrier is the promised ‘wall,’ or that his grand plans were blocked by Democrats or the judicial branch,” he concluded.

Brace is widely published, primarily in the areas of state politics and judicial decision-making. He comments regularly on presidential politics, the judiciary and the U.S. government. For more information on Brace, visit http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~pbrace/. To schedule an interview with Brace, contact him directly at 832-628-5285.


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Related materials:

Paul Brace bio: https://politicalscience.rice.edu/paul-brace

Paul Brace headshot: https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/news-network.rice.edu/dist/c/2/files/2016/01/Paul-Brace-1i4pyra.jpg

Photo credit: Rice University

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About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.