The Shutdown Might Be Lengthy
It may even prove to be record-setting. The reason is that the Democrats have historically been a party that values weakness and concession; they interpret this as an expression of peaceful intent. This is so obvious that even an intellectual light weight like Donald Trump is well aware of it. Given that, the odds favor the Democrats caving. Not by as much as they typically do, mind you, (the wall is extremely unpopular amongst Democrats), but they still favor a Democrat cave. And given that, why wouldn’t Trump want a staring contest?
A Record-Long Shutdown Might Doom Both Parties
That’s simply because it would end up causing real hardship and probably provoking a severe recession, and this would provide an opening for a centrist party or movement to arise that campaigns on a “pox on both your houses” platform. There’s risk to it, though; it could also provide a pretext for the fascists to go full fascist (though I place that as an outside chance, given what an incompetent leader Trump has proven to be).
That implies that the Republican Party will be one of the two doomed parties. Trumpism won’t be doomed into oblivion, but it would likely emerge seriously damaged, at least 50% smaller than it currently is. In turn, this would make Trumpism itself essentially irrelevant as a national political force, at least for several years. This would definitely be a very good thing; it is the reason I am hoping the Democrats stand firm.
Alternately, it might not doom the parties; it might instead profoundly change them, provoking a wholesale sweeping purge of the leadership of both. The overall political effect would probably be the same: the reconstituted parties would move strongly to the center, and a centrist consensus would emerge.
It’s an Open Question If That Would Happen
First, there’s the Democrats’ natural proclivity for weakness. Second, there’s the natural inclination for any organization, including any political party, to be concerned with its future.
It certainly would be better for the country and better for the world as a whole if the above scenario transpired; the death of the Democratic and Republican parties is a very small price to pay for kicking fascism to the curb and hitting a political reset button. But it’s far from certain that the Democratic Party would choose to fall on its sword like this.
Any Centrist Backlash Would Not Last
It would probably last five to ten years, and might (in the most optimistic of scenarios for centrists) last twenty. The reason is the basic dynamics of class society, and how centrists are blind to it.
Those on top always want more. Their hunger is never satiated, and their ideology blinds them to the harm this lust for more does. They will therefore strive for more. Centrists are largely blind to this (and most other) aspects of class society, so they will prove incapable of resisting this impulse. Any new centrist movement will become captured by, and become the tool of, the elite.
This will inevitably create an opening for the left. So if the other parts of the above start happening, it is the responsibility of those of us on the left to organize and create a movement that can capitalize on the opening when the inevitable happens.
Another Reason The Above Might Not Happen
Even if the Democrats stand firm, human society is chaotic and difficult to predict: things may unexpectedly head in other directions. One of the most likely causes of this would be a national security crisis of some sort, which is more likely than ever given the current quality of national leadership (or lack thereof).