If Donald Trump wants to fulfill his promise to voters to build a border wall, he’s only got one way to do it: shut down the government until he gets funding for it.
The current fiscal year expires at the end of September, and voters go the polls a mere 6 weeks later. If there was ever a time when Nervous Nellie Republicans - which means just about all of them - would cough up $25 billion for border security, this would be the time.
Sen. Bob Thune, a part of the oligarchy that rules the Swamp, said this week that he supports the president’s wall, but that now is not the time to pursue funding. He conspicuously fails to mention when the right time might be. The truth is, those words are just a paper-thin excuse to once again do nothing.
Said Thune, “I’m with the president on supporting the wall…The need for the wall is critical, and we want to help the president achieve that objective. But I don’t think the best way to do that is by shutting the government down. It just seems to me at least, that that could be very counterproductive, particularly when you’re only a month away from an election.” (Emphasis mine throughout.)
Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama openly admitted that a shutdown is the Achilles heel of the establishment, the one thing they absurdly fear above all else. "Well, pressure works," Shelby said. "I guess fear works at times with all of us. But we all fear a government shutdown and we should try to avoid it and that's what we're trying to do.”
So what we have here is a classic high noon showdown. For the Swamp, avoiding a shutdown is far more important than funding a wall. For Trump - and his base - a wall is way more important than a shutdown. The only question is who will blink first.
Trump has already folded once on his threat to shut down the government over wall funding, and he’s making noises like he’s prepared to do it again, and put off the shutdown until after the election. Bad idea.
Eighty-eight percent of Republicans support the president right now. These are the people that elected him because of his promise to build the wall. If he presses down on his shutdown threat, his base will stand with him and behind him. If he caves again, even his base will begin to entertain doubts about his resolve.
Now, right now, is the time when he has maximum leverage. Sen. Shelby is already on record saying they want to avoid a shutdown at any cost. Well, Mr. President, if you hold your ground, they have only one way to avoid their dreaded shutdown: give you what you want. Their weakness is your greatest strength. Use it.
The reality is that a government shutdown is absolutely nothing to fear. In a so-called “shutdown,” 83% of the government keeps right on cooking. The military keeps protecting us, the mail is still delivered, Social Security checks keep going out, and for the few government workers who do actually get sent home, it’s a paid vacation. They all get made whole for their time off, and the planet continues to spin on its axis.
And in reality, it’s simple to get Mexico - or at least Mexicans - to pay for the wall. Simply slap a four-percent tax on all remittances. The money that Mexicans send back to Mexico from their American earnings - more than $25 billion a year - is the second largest component of the Mexican economy. Four-percent of $25 billion is one billion dollars, a sum that will roll in year after year until the end of time. Plenty of money there to build a great, big, beautiful wall without the U.S. government sticking their fingers into our wallets for even one penny.
Bottom line: Shut ‘er down, Mr. President. Shut ‘er down.