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.

One Response to “The Trump, McConnell trap?”

  • J. Ewing says:

    And yet I keep hearing that “the Democrats will take over the House” or even “WHEN the Democrats take over the House.” How can that possibly be a reasonable outcome to this election? Here in MN the GOP may pick up three more GOP seats.

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