This is a charade. We all know it’s a charade. There aren’t enough votes for wall funding in the Senate. There is no path to 60. But we all live in a reality TV show and Donald Trump writes the script.
Let’s break it down. In the Senate, you need 60 votes to pass a budget. There are 51 Republicans. If 100% of Senate Republicans vote for a CR, they still need 9 Democrats. You’re not getting any Democrats to vote for a CR that includes wall funding less than two months after they won a midterm election that was–in part– a referendum on immigration.
Most conservatives seem to think they have enough votes to ram their agenda through as long as everyone follows the script. They don’t. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan can raise all the hell they want but their 30 seat majority is a luxury the Senate doesn’t share. They’re from safe districts which will reward them for their publicity stunt. But that doesn’t give them Senate votes. There simply are not enough Senate Republicans in this shows cast.
There are three roads we can take at the point:
- Trump outright caves.
- Trump caves with the cover of a fake deal.
- Trump actually holds out and shuts down the government.
We’ve all been in this part of the story before. Trump says he’ll shut down the government if he doesn’t get his wall funding. Trump reverses and agrees to a deal before reversing back and finally deciding to cave. Last year he outright caved. Earlier this year he accepted a cover deal and promised to fight another day. We’ve seen this show before. The script is unoriginal. Option 3 has never happened because Trump doesn’t have the balls to walk away. And we all know that.
But, for a moment, let’s entertain the idea Trump actually does it. He becomes a legend and shuts 17% of the government down. What then? Assuming it isn’t another faux shut down that lasts the weekend, like last January (in that case, see options 1 and 2), the longer it goes on, the more likely we’ll find ourselves in a Kumbaya moment in which Congress comes together, finds bipartisanship, overrides the veto, and ends the shutdown. Yuck. Sounds like writing from the CW.
Here’s what should happen. Speaker Ryan should grow a pair and put the Senate bill on the floor for a vote. Let it pass and get sent to the President’s desk. Then go home. Trump can veto it in a hissy fit or be a grown-up and govern. Forcing an overly dramatic ending into an already stuffed season is just too much. Let the next season begin. I hear there’s going to be a new cast.
At least Meadows and Jordan will have another opportunity to bitch about RINO’s.