I may be stepping out on a limb here, but I think it's less likely now than it was just a few weeks ago.
The possibility of a government shutdown is on our collective minds today because Trump threatened to shut down the government next month if he doesn't receive funding for his fantasy border wall, but that's not up to him. Congress has the power to fund the government without Trump's approval and he's done a spectacular job of making enemies out of Republicans in Congress who control both chambers.
For example, the state of relations between Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is apparently far, far worse than I dared imagine.
According to the New York Times, Trump and McConnell haven't spoken for weeks following a phone call between the two that "quickly devolved into a profane shouting match."
In a series of tweets this month, Mr. Trump criticized Mr. McConnell publicly, and berated him in a phone call that quickly devolved into a profane shouting match.
During the call, which Mr. Trump initiated on Aug. 9 from his New Jersey golf club, the president accused Mr. McConnell of bungling the health care issue. He was even more animated about what he intimated was the Senate leader’s refusal to protect him from investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to Republicans briefed on the conversation.
Mr. McConnell has fumed over Mr. Trump’s regular threats against fellow Republicans and criticism of Senate rules, and questioned Mr. Trump’s understanding of the presidency in a public speech. Mr. McConnell has made sharper comments in private, describing Mr. Trump as entirely unwilling to learn the basics of governing.
McConnell is wrong about a lot of things, including his protection of Trump during the 2016 campaign, but he's right about Trump in this case. Trump has no idea how policy is made. He has no idea how Congress works. And he does not understand how bills become law. He isn't interested in learning any of those things, either. Trump doesn't know shit about shit and he doesn't want to know.
Back to the point -- there's no reason to think McConnell would be willing to shut down the federal government just to hand Trump a rhetorical 'win.' Why would he do that while Trump is waging a war against him and several other members of McConnell's caucus? Trump publicly attacked Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) in Arizona last night and on Twitter this morning, and Flake is headed to Kentucky this week for a fundraiser with McConnell.
Speaker Paul Ryan is another story. If any leader in Congress would be willing to roll over for Trump, it would be him, right?
Well, Ryan addressed the press in Oregon this afternoon where he didn't necessarily rule out a shut down, but he did imply that it's not likely.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said on Wednesday that the government shutdown threatened by President Donald Trump is unnecessary and not wanted by lawmakers in Congress.
"I don't think anyone is interested in having a shutdown. I don't think it is in our interests to do so," Ryan told a news conference in Oregon.
Trump already had an opportunity to force this issue earlier this year when Congress funded the federal government for the remainder of fiscal 2017. If he were going to pick a fight over border wall funding, he should have done it then when he still had some semblance of political capital or leverage.
Trump has isolated himself inside in the oval office and on the golf course, made enemies out of almost everyone who actually matters, and burned his capital by allying with Nazis and white supremacists.
We might see the government shut down at midnight on October 1st, but that's over a month away and that's a lot of time for Trump to fuck up even more things. Who knows what he'll say or do over the next five weeks? I don't know, but I know none of it will be good.