Friday, February 15, 2019


President Trump plans to declare a national emergency in order to get his wall built. Democratis in the House will then vote to block him, and they'll force a vote on the same measure in the Senate.

The conventional wisdom is that the Senate might join the House in rejecting the emergency declaration. That's preposterous.

The New York Times explains what's about to happen:
Under the National Emergencies Act, the House and the Senate can take up what is called a joint resolution of termination to end the emergency status if they believe the president is acting irresponsibly or the threat has dissipated. Representative Joaquin Castro, Democrat of Texas and the head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said late Thursday that he was ready to introduce such a resolution if Mr. Trump followed through.

... the law says that if one chamber passes such a resolution, the other one must bring it up for a vote within 18 days. Though Democrats are in the minority in the Senate, they would need only a handful of Republicans to join them to pass the resolution there and send it to Mr. Trump’s desk. It is easy to imagine a half-dozen or more Republican senators joining Democrats out of concern for the precedent that Mr. Trump’s declaration will set.
It doesn't matter, because Trump will veto the resolution, and there's no way there'll be a two-thirds vote in both chambers to override the veto. But why is it "easy to imagine a half-dozen or more Republican senators joining Democrats out of concern for the precedent that Mr. Trump’s declaration will set"?

I don't care how many Republicans have expressed concern about this move. I don't care how much hand-wringing Marco Rubio and Susan Collins have done. There would need to be four GOP votes against the emergency declaration, and that won't happen.

Looking at the polling, you'd think Senate Republicans might have some cover to oppose the president -- GOP voters have somewhat wary of the emergency declaration idea, according to polls.
... in a CNN/SSRS poll released earlier this month ... only 64% of Republicans thought the President should go ahead -- a figure far lower than Trump's approval numbers with GOP voters.
In a Fox poll released this week, 74% of GOP respondents said they'd support an emergency declaration; 87% approve of the job Trump is doing as president.

But GOP voters have been less than solid in their support for a Trump emergency declaration because the president hadn't issued the declaration yet. Once he does, support among the party's voters will shoot into the nineties. On immigration, Republicans think we're at war, and that's how public opinion on war works. Recall the polling before and after the Iraq War started:
Gallup found that from August 2002 through early March 2003 the share of Americans favoring war hovered in a relatively narrow range between a low of 52 percent and a high of 59 percent....

Not surprisingly, Republicans (75 percent in favor) backed war more strongly than did Democrats (only 40 percent)....

Even many Americans who favored war were not demanding it. Gallup asked those who supported attacking Iraq whether they would be upset if President Bush decided not to go to war. Roughly half said no....

Once Operation Iraqi Freedom began on March 19, support for the war surged to 72 percent in Gallup’s polling....

More than nine out of ten Republicans supported the decision to go to war....
That's what will happen once Trump signs the declaration -- GOP support will top 90%, and scared Senate Republicans will fall in line. The Senate won't embarrass Trump by rebuffing him on this.

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