Trump won’t end shutdown unless Democrats lose: University historian explains president’s game theory
Donald Trump on Instagram (Screenshot)

President Donald Trump may not be approaching negotiations to end his shutdown as a rational actor, a history professor explained on Wednesday.


The shutdown is now in its 19th day, with 800,000 federal workers and contractors expected to miss paychecks this week.

City University of New York Professor Angus Johnston explained how Trump's unique perspective on negotiations could influence the outcome.

"A friend of mine said the other night that Trump likes making the other person lose more than he likes winning, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since," Johnston explained.

"Assume a situation in which there's no way out of the shutdown that's a win for Trump and a loss for the Dems," he suggested. "Which will be more appealing to him: win-win, or lose-lose?"

Johnston noted Trump's answer might not be the obvious answer, that a win-win is more desirable.

"For Trump, a win-win isn't a win, because it doesn't involve anybody losing. But a lose-lose feels like a win, because, again, watching your enemies suffer is what really matters," he explained.

"And of course the list of his enemies is constantly transforming and expanding. It's not a defined, or definable, category," he added. "It's unbounded."

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