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After President Trump tweeted that he’s willing to shut down the government over funding for his border wall, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he’s optimistic they “can avoid a government shutdown.” A senior Republican aide said “We’ve got the whole month of August dedicated to appropriations. This notion that we’re going to shut down the government — everyone needs to dial down the panic button a couple notches.”

That leads me to this question: will Republicans finish the major funding bills on time, then force Democrats to either vote for funding the wall or shutting the government down? The truth is that Republicans might paint the Democrats into a corner by passing the vast majority of appropriations bills on time. The NDAA is heading to President Trump’s desk, which funds the military. Since Congress is passing individual appropriations bills rather than a CR that funds the entire government, the MSM and the Democrats (pardon the repetition) will find it virtually impossible to succeed in accusing Republicans of shutting down government.

Further, the part of the government that is actually shut down is the Department of Homeland Security. Do Democrats really want to tell swing-district voters that they don’t want to build the wall? That might work in some of the most liberal districts but it can’t help them in the Rust Belt, the Midwest or Great Lakes states where they’re fighting to recapture governorships and/or hold onto precarious Senate seats. Further, if Democrats vote against funding the wall, won’t that essentially kill their opportunity to flip the Arizona and Nevada Senate seats?

“We’ll finish up the set of appropriations measures we’ve been considering for several days and take four more big steps toward our goal of completing a regular appropriations process and funding the government in a timely and orderly manner,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.

President Obama loved getting Republicans into an all-or-nothing position because he had the biggest megaphone. Republicans now have that super-sized megaphone. It’s worth noting that President Trump is on the right side of the border wall issue. Whether Republicans realize it or not, most Rust Belt/Corn Belt states prefer keeping the gangs, drug cartels and human traffickers out of their states.

If Democrats want to bet that they’re on the right side of that issue, let ’em try. Ultimately, I’m betting that there’s more people who want to stop MS-13 and keep the economy running strong than there are people who prefer open borders, rampant crime and a return to the Obama economy.

If Republicans can campaign on getting their appropriations done on time, that will tell voters that, despite a bumpy start, Republicans are getting the nation’s work done on time. That’s a net positive for both the House and Senate. Couple that with the Senate confirming another Supreme Court justice and the House getting started on Tax Cuts 2.0 and you’ve got a pretty nice list of accomplishments to run on.

If funding the wall is the only thing left on the agenda, that’d put Democrats in a sticky position. That’s a position red state Democrat senators don’t want to find themselves in.

This Politico article contains some of the best news I’ve seen all day. When I read “the party’s base is demanding Schumer and his colleagues wage a knock-down, drag-out fight”, I couldn’t help but smile from ear-to-ear.

Let’s be upfront about this. I don’t expect this to happen. Still, if the Democrats want to imperil their most vulnerable senators, I’ll be happy to see that happen. I’d love to see Republicans pick up 6-7 seats instead of 2-3 seats in the Senate.

Still, if the Democrats’ base insists on a knock-down-drag-out fight, Republicans should smile, then hit these red-state Democrats hard until they’re too toxic to win. In some cases, that shouldn’t be that difficult. It’s important that we remember that this vote isn’t the only thing that senators like Manchin, Donnelly, Tester, Heitkamp and Nelson will be judged on. Tester and Nelson voted against Gorsuch. All of them voted against the Trump/GOP tax cuts. Don’t think that those votes won’t be included in the GOP’s closing arguments in late October and early November.

Still, how long at-risk Democrats can or should hold out is a complicated political equation that could affect their survival in November. As long as they remain undecided, deep-pocketed conservative groups like the Judicial Crisis Network and Americans for Prosperity will continue pounding them with pro-Kavanaugh ads and activism in their states.

A spokeswoman for JCN said it would pull ads when and if Democratic senators come out in support of Kavanaugh and shift to thanking the nominee’s supporters. Meanwhile, GOP opponents, who expect some of these Democrats to ultimately support Kavanaugh, are hitting them for their supposed indecision.

Organizations like the Judicial Crisis Network are already running ads like this against Democrats:

This is another hard-hitting ad from JCN:

Good luck dealing with that pressure.
UPDATE: Rand Paul has announced that he’s supporting Kavanaugh’s confirmation. The pressure just got a lot more intense for Manchin, Donnelly, Heitkamp, Tester, etc.

When Chas Anderson tweeted this information this morning, my first thought was whether this included a big loan from his personal stash.

Check out what the article says. It says “Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign says he raised $10.7 million during the second quarter of 2018, a ‘record breaking’ number that more than triples the best effort of any quarter by his opponent, Democrat Bill Nelson. The $10.7 million figure — ‘a historic amount that surpasses any other national Senate campaign’ — also does not reflect any of Scott’s own personal money spent on the campaign. The final tally included more than 11,000 contributors, 80 percent of whom live in Florida; 75 percent of all contributors gave less than $500.” In other words, lots of Floridians like this guy and are contributing to his campaign. Each of those 11,000 in-state contributors are votes for Gov. Scott. That’s an impressive political base. Further, that’s a huge haul, one that Bill Nelson likely can’t compete with.

This must intimidate Bill Nelson:

Scott, a two-term Governor, asserts in the release that the $10.7 million haul is “sending a message to Washington that the time of career politicians is over – and our momentum is not slowing down.” Florida Finance Chairwoman Darlene Jordan had a similar take: “This historic more than $10.7 million fundraising quarter shows that the opportunity to elect Governor Rick Scott and send a career politician back home has Floridians more excited than ever before.”

Bill Nelson is a do-nothing senator. His list of accomplishments is pretty short. Rick Scott’s list of accomplishments is significant and lengthy.

This should frighten Sen. Nelson, too:

Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign says it has hauled in as much cash in three weeks as his opponent, Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, raised in the first three months of this year. Scott, a Republican, collected $3.2 million in individual contributions since he launched his bid to unseat the three-term incumbent senator, according to his campaign.

That’s from an April 30th article. The thing that stands out to me is that Scott’s fundraising continues at an impressive pace. If I’m Bill Nelson’s campaign manager, I’d be worried. ALOT!