This is too delicious.
I’ll begin by stressing how much of a disaster the Trump shutdown has been for the GOP. Donald Trump has achieved a record low approval rating, and has managed to drag the entire party down a whopping eight percentage points. Every Democrat running for president has a lead over Trump—in the Midwestern states. In other words, 2020 is likely to bring a substantial regime change.
This is why I’m very keen on Trump declaring his fake “national emergency” so he can try and build his personal vanity project. A second shutdown would be a non-starter: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear that the backlash would be too much for even him, and Trump doesn’t want an embarrassing veto-override. Yet Trump has painted himself into such a corner that he pretty much has to do it now.
Speaker Pelosi is gleefully counting on it.
I’ll let the right-wing Washington Examiner explain why this would be such a disaster—for both Mitch and the rest of the GOP.
The California Democrat, under a seldom-used statute, could put a binding "resolution of disapproval" on the House floor to counter Trump should he claim constitutional power to unilaterally build a border wall.
The resolution would almost assuredly pass the Democratic House. Then, in a quirk of the law - the Congressional Review Act - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., would essentially be forced to hold a floor vote, with only a simple majority required for passage rather than the customary 60 votes.
To make it very clear, McConnell knows this, and has recently pleaded with the Donald to not go through with it because it will tear his caucus apart. He’s right.
First, as the article admits, there is a very good chance that enough GOP senators will join Democrats in blocking Trump from declaring an emergency. Even Senate Majority Whip John Thune refused to rule out joining the Dems on this, and another GOP senator predicted ”major defections.” (Marco Rubio also said he’s not on board.) Yet the Dems don’t need major defections—only a few senators are required in order to have both houses of Congress completely rebuke the president. If that really happens, we can all watch and enjoy Trump's minion morons go after McConnell and his gang.
Unfortunately for them, that scenario, believe it or not, is actually the "good" option for the GOP.
The second option would be way, way worse.
If the GOP Senate allows the president to make this unprecedented power grab, the immediate effect will be those in competitive races in 2020, who rightfully fear they will be seen as lackeys. The more long-term effect will be on everyone who refused to vote it down: They will all be on record for supporting a president ruling by decree, and surrendering their constitutional powers.
That’s bad enough, but what’s even worse is what’s going to happen when President O'Rourke or Commander-in-Chief Harris take the oath of office in January 2021: No longer will it matter if the GOP senators try to filibuster our agenda, because this new president will now have new emergency powers that render them obsolete.
- Climate change is a national emergency, so the president orders six billion dollars for funding EPA enforcement. Done.
- Healthcare crisis is a national emergency, so the president expands Medicaid for 2 million people and fully funds the ACA. Done.
- The refugee crisis is a national emergency, so the White House allots money to accept ten times as many people, and provide full funding for immigration services. Done.
- Poverty is a national emergency, so the president opts to provide emergency heating assistance to everyone, and fully fund a jobs program repairing our infrastructure. Done and done.
I can go on, but you get the point.
The difference here is that everything I just mentioned is a legitimate issue—and quite popular—and there will be no intelligence chiefs contradicting the new president, claiming that things like climate change aren’t real.
In the end, it is likely there will be substantial legal barriers that prevent Trump or anyone from declaring an emergency without a significant event (like 9/11) behind it. That’s obviously still a win for us.
However, never underestimate the GOP’s penchant for short-term gain. Even if SCOTUS tells Trump he can seize the funds from disaster relief to pay for it, the wall will still never be built. The court fight from seizing ranchers’ lands is not going to resolve itself in the time Trump has left in office. Actual structural engineers say the logistics of building what Trump wants is impossible to overcome, and there are no legitimate contracting firms that want to touch it. (The companies that built those prototypes you saw—none of which are viable—turned out to be quite a bit shady.)
So the wall is never going to happen either way, but Dems may get the power to build what we want, and we’ll have the GOP to thank for it. In the meantime, we will enjoy the massive backlash waiting for the GOP legislators who lose no matter how they vote—either from the public or from their base. It’s the one vote they are desperate not to take, can’t filibuster, and know is being entirely forced on them by the person they hate most in the world.
For us, it’s pretty much a win-win-win scenario all around.
My goodness, Trump was right. I am getting tired of all the winning.