Early Monday afternoon, the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly to reopen the federal government after a brief shutdown.

Sounds great, right? There’s just one problem: The stopgap bill includes no provisions to fund Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Instead of negotiating to protect “Dreamers,” the Democrats – led by our very own Angus King, an independent who caucuses with that party – caved to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s “promise” that the Senate will tackle immigration come February.

By putting their trust in the less-than-trustworthy McConnell, Democrats jeopardized not only their own electoral fate, but also the fate of 800,000 Americans who live in fear of deportation. It is the unfortunate truth that such spinelessness, cowardice and lack of resolve have become the norm rather than the exception.

The catastrophic mess created in the Senate over the past week is not only disheartening, but also raises a number of questions: Did Republicans forget that they promised action on DACA back in September, when Speaker Paul Ryan echoed President Trump’s earlier assurance that Dreamers could “rest easy”? If the reason for the shutdown was to reach a deal on DACA, was the shutdown pointless? If Angus King and others think that Mitch McConnell won’t default on his verbal commitment, have they been asleep since they got into office? And, fundamentally, what does it mean to be a Democrat anymore?

As to the last question, I was raised to believe that Democrats fight for the underdog, protect the vulnerable and support others in times of uncertainty. Not on that list is sacrificing your morals. It’s time to hold Angus King and all politicians who sold out Dreamers accountable.

Zak Ringelstein

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate