There’s no spinning what happened in Washington on Friday: Donald Trump caved to Nancy Pelosi — and a compromise to reopen the government was struck.
The bigger question is how. How, after 3+ years of Trump running roughshod on the political process, did Pelosi, the newly installed speaker of the House, beat him at his own game?
The answer is remarkably simple: She said “no.” And stuck to it.
Pelosi, from the start, insisted that neither she nor any Democrats would cooperate with any negotiation that sought to leverage a government shutdown for Trump to try to secure the $5.7 billion he wanted for a border wall.
The key to saying something so definitive is a) sticking to it and b) enforcing it. There was never a peep from any House Democrat that they should make concessions on the wall to Trump. Not any meaningful dissent. For 35 days of a shutdown.
In the midst of that, Pelosi out-Trumped Trump on his State of the Union speech, too. She said postpone it. He said “no” and dared her to deny him the chance. She did just that.
The Point: What Pelosi seems to understand better than past Trump political opponents is that giving ANY ground is a mistake. You have to not only stand firm, but be willing to go beyond all political norms — like canceling the SOTU — to win. Which is what Pelosi did this week. Twice.