McCaskill Frustrated With Dems Mulling WH Runs Trying to Appease Party Base Rather Than Making Spending Deal

Sen. Claire McCaskill
Sen. Claire McCaskill / Getty Images

Republicans are not the only ones who could face political consequences over a potential government shutdown if lawmakers do not strike a deal on spending and immigration by the end of the week.

Democrats running for re-election in states that President Donald Trump carried in 2016, like Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, are also fretting about the political fallout of a shutdown if a deal is not reached, the New York Times reports.

"Welcome to our world," McCaskill said.

The Missouri Democrat took a shot at the wide field of potential 2020 Democratic candidates, in what could be a piercing battle over who can win a test of progressive purity.

"We've got people running for president all trying to find their base, and then you've got people from Trump states that are trying to continue to legislate the way we always have—by negotiation," McCaskill said. "And never the twain shall meet."

McCaskill is seeking a third term in a state Trump won by 19 points in 2016. Keeping her seat will be key to Democrats' hopes of winning back the Senate in 2018. Democrats are also defending seats in Indiana, West Virginia, and North Dakota, states Trump won handily.

Democrats widely viewed as eyeing the White House in 2020—like Sens. Cory Booker (D., N.J.), Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.)—are taking hardline stances on a spending deal, insisting on voting down any government-funding bill that does not protect so-called "Dreamers," immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, from deportation.

Trump rescinded the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provides legal protections to Dreamers, in September and gave Congress six months to find a legal solution.

Some Democrats think they should withhold votes because a government shutdown would damage Republicans more, given they control both houses of Congress, but former Obama White House adviser David Axelrod cautioned against such a move.

"It looks like a big Washington mess to people," he said. "Dealing with Trump is obviously a very, very difficult issue not just for Democrats but for Republicans because he is so mercurial and unreliable. The question is: Have you reached that point now where you want to employ what is the most explosive tool in your toolbox?"

"I am not interested in drawing a line in sand as negotiations continue because I think that's how negotiations get blown up," McCaskill said.