The House of Representatives has voted 217 to 185 to approve a spending bill that includes $5.7 Billion for a southern border wall. As the midnight deadline for a partial government shutdown looms, it is up to the United States senators to now hash out a last-minute arrangement on whether to push it through. But is this funding bill dead in the water? Or do President Trump and the Senate Republicans have a couple of Aces up their sleeves?
We know that the president would sign off on the funding, and it is likely that all 51 GOP senators would back it, but without the required 60 votes, many are looking at this situation as an irresistible force v. an immovable object situation. But that might not be the case.
Both Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) have stated that the funding for the wall is not going to happen. Prior to the vote, Pelosi assured the nation that the support for wall funding was just not there in the House. Whilst in the Oval Office last week, she point-blank told the world that Republican Representatives would not vote for it … much to President Trump’s glee.
One of Trump’s first actions on news of the House decision was to take a quick shot at Pelosi and remind her that she does not speak for the nation or its representatives. He tweeted:
“Soon to be Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, last week live from the Oval Office, that the Republicans didn’t have the votes for Border Security. Today the House Republicans voted and won, 217-185. Nancy does not have to apologize. All I want is GREAT BORDER SECURITY.”
Senator Schumer was aggressive in his stance, stating that:
“Everyone knows it can’t pass the Senate. It’s a cynical attempt to just hurt innocent people and do just what President Trump wants even though they probably know it’s bad for the country.”
And here’s the problem: Perhaps the Democrats doth protest too much.
Schumer has posited that the bill will be rejected by the Senate, then sent back to the House with the wall funding removed. And this is just the way he would like it to go. The reality is that President Trump can’t really lose as long as he holds his nerve. This has become a game of optics and appearance that relies on nothing but numbers.
If the president shuts down parts of the government and refuses to budge on getting the wall built, he will not lose any of his voting base; in fact, it may bring back some voters who have been feeling let down by a lack of action on border security. If he caves, he loses more support. For a 2020 strategy, the wall is a winner.
But what of the Democrats.
While it is possible that a majority of Democrat voters despise the president, this does not mean that they detest the idea of border security and having a southern border wall. It is only a tiny minority of activists and elected politicos that favor open borders. Should parts of the government remain in shut down, these voters will start asking themselves if $5 Billion is a small price to pay to get things started again. The wall is not the key issue for them that it is for Trump voters.
Weighing the Cost
It all comes down to what is most important to the individual voter. The Trump voters firmly believe that without a wall, all other policy is merely window dressing. The Dem voters do not have an issue that sways them as strongly. This could mean that there are a lot of zealots on the Trump Train, but it is this excitement that got their man into the White House despite being forecast to lose by almost every poll.
What can the Democrat politicians offer to their voters that stirs as much passion? At present, it seems they are serving a simple plate of bile and hate … and that leaves a very hungry belly. When the masses are starving, whether for sustenance of the mind, the body, or the soul, they will not be denied.