Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Open Letter To Democrats


Democrats are understandably excited about the upcoming presidential election. After last year’s midterm rebuke of President Trump and the Republicans, Democratic activists are champing at the bit for a rematch against President Trump, the almost inevitable Republican nominee. Nevertheless, Democratic voters need to carefully consider their primary choices to avoid a repeat of 2016.

There are a lot of former and current-but-dissatisfied Republican voters who would consider voting for a Democrathe t against President Trump. Mr. Trump’s behavior has always been a problem for many conservatives (as opposed to partisan Republicans). His recent attacks on the memory of John McCain, a decorated veteran who is not around to defend himself, and his expansion of presidential emergency powers are especially problematic for many of us.

The assessment from 2016 that Donald Trump was uniquely bad and dangerous for the American republic has been confirmed by the experience of the past two years. Despite promises to the contrary, Republicans have been either unwilling or unable to rein him in and hold him accountable for his excesses. That failure means that those of us concerned about where the country is headed under Trump must consider all available alternatives.

The warning that I must give to Democrats is that opposition to President Trump has not led us to embrace the Democratic platform or veer to the left. In fact, as I recently pointed out, the argument against Trump for conservatives isn’t just his bad behavior, it’s the fact that his policy is far to the left on many issues. If you want dissatisfied conservatives and Republicans to cross over and vote Democrat, you aren’t going to accomplish that with a Democratic socialist. The same is true of country at large which has historically been center-right. Recent polling shows that has not changed.

You may feel that Trump is so unpopular that you don’t need support from disaffected conservatives. That may be true in 2020 but it was a bad assumption in 2016. Without knowing what dirty tricks the Russians will pull (if any) to tip the scales or what skeletons lurk in the closets of political newcomers, are you really willing to take that chance?

Ideological conservatives are not going to vote for Democrats based on domestic policy, but they might consider voting for a Democrat who is moderate on domestic issues and who could stabilize US foreign policy and end the trade war.

The problem is that what has happened so far is that Democratic candidates are proposing such radical ideas that it is scaring conservatives who don’t like President Trump into voting for him in order to protect foundations of the American republic. Many of us don’t want Mr. Trump’s expansion of presidential powers, his trade war, or his isolationism, but we also don’t want to junk the Electoral College, eliminate private health insurance in favor of Medicaid-for-all, or pass slavery reparations, late-term abortions, or the Green New Deal.

What some Democrats fail to understand is the same thing that both the Obama and Trump Administrations failed to understand: Americans don’t drastic change and kicking out one party that abused its power is not a license for the other party to enact the wildest dreams of its base. The Trump Administration will likely be limited to one term because Republicans assumed that an Electoral College victory with a popular vote loss was a carte blanch to force their policies, both popular and unpopular, on the rest of the nation by any means necessary. That’s the sort of thing that tends to anger voters.  

If Democrats want to beat President Trump then their best bet is to nominate a candidate who doesn’t scare moderate and conservative voters. At this point, Joe Biden seems to be the best and most likely candidate to deliver the message, “You’re fired,” from the voters. If Biden doesn’t run, the choice is tougher but Amy Klobuchar and Beto O’Rourke seem to be the best bets for a moderate nominee. Beto, however, seems intent on alienating more moderates every day.

The main goal of the Democrats should be to come across as less threatening and radical than President Trump. This should not be hard, but if it weren’t a problem I wouldn’t have to write this letter. Every day Democrats like Alexandra Ocasio Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris are out there saying things that scare the bejeezus out of moderate voters. This is how you get Trump re-elected.

I’m not saying that I’ll vote Democrat if you nominate a moderate. I’m a conservative I disagree with even moderately liberal ideas, but that’s part of the reason that I don’t plan to vote for President Trump. Add in the president’s erratic personality and behavior unbecoming the commander-in-chief and I might be open to supporting the right Democrat for the good of the country. On the other hand, if the stakes are high enough with a radical leftist as the Democratic nominee, you might just push me to vote Trump.

Originally published on The Resurgent

Poll Shows Surprising Surge For One Democrat But One Consistent Frontrunner


The large Democratic field may be starting to winnow itself out. New polling shows that four candidates stand out above the others with support in the double digits while one candidate in particular is a clear frontrunner.

The new poll by CNN and SSRS asked Democratic-leaning voters about their presidential preferences and found a surprising eight-point surge for Kamala Harris. The California senator polled at eight percent in the last polling during early December but reached 12 percent in the new poll. Despite the improvement, Harris finished in a distant third place.

The frontrunner, as in most polling, was the as-yet-unannounced Joe Biden. The former vice president has consistently led polling amid rampant speculation that he will announce his intent to run soon. Biden has hinted to supporters last week that he is running and holds an eight-point lead over his nearest competitor in the new poll. Biden’s support was virtually unchanged from the 30 percent that he garnered in December.

Bernie Sanders is the second-place finisher with 20 percent. The Democrat-in-name-only gained six percent over his December results to partially close the gap with Biden.

The only other candidate with support in the double-digits was Beto O’Rourke. Fresh from his official campaign announcement and fundraising triumph, the Texan gained two percent from his December results to hold a statistical tie with Harris at 11 percent.

There were few other candidates with significant changes in support. Elizabeth Warren showed marginal improvement, rising from three to six percent, while Corey Booker dropped from five to three percent. Amy Klobuchar was steady at three percent. Former secretary of state and presidential candidate John Kerry was also included in the poll with four percent support in both surveys.

More significant, the number of Democrats who chose “no one” or “undecided” dropped from 17 to seven percent. This indicates that even at this early date, voters are making up their minds. With fewer undecided voters to compete for, candidates will have to start chipping away at the competition in order to improve their own standing in the polls.

The poll also asked Democrats about their second choice. With 17 percent, Bernie Sanders was the top second choice followed by Joe Biden at 14 percent. No other candidates were above 10 percent on this question and the results indicate that Sanders and Biden should rise almost equally as other candidates start to drop out of the race.

Fifty-six percent of Democrats said that the most important factor in selecting a candidate was “a strong chance of beating Donald Trump.” Joe Biden was rated as the candidate most likely to beat Trump at 51 percent to Bernie Sanders’ 33 percent.

The CNN poll also gave bad news for President Donald Trump. The poll found that Donald Trump had a 41 percent approval rating with 54 percent disapproval. In contrast, 46 percent had a favorable opinion of Bernie Sanders, but most other Democratic candidates were largely unknown. The favorability question was not asked of Joe Biden.

On questions that were asked of supporters of both parties and independents, voters held a low opinion of Trump’s character. Only 40 percent thought he “cares about people like you” and 34 percent saw him as “honest and trustworthy.” On job performance, voters saw him as incapable of positively changing the country (53-42 percent), unable to manage the government effectively (56-41 percent), disrespectful of the rule of law (56-40 percent), and divisive (63-32 percent). The only question that the president fared well on was being tough enough to handle a crisis (51-46 percent).

Voters rated the top issue for the upcoming election as “immigration” at 20 percent. Of these voters, 15 percent said “immigration” in general and six percent said “wall” or “border security.” Supporters of both parties are enthusiastic about the upcoming election with 79 percent of both Democrats and Republicans rating themselves as very enthusiastic.

The poll sampled 1,003 adults using both cell phones and landlines. The party breakdown was 32 percent Democrat, 25 percent Republican, and 44 percent independent or other parties. This closely mirrors the national partisan alignment. The margin of error was 3.8 percentage points.

The new poll shows that Democrats are starting to cement their support for particular candidates with Joe Biden as the consistent favorite. It also undercuts the notion that Democratic voters will veer left and nominate a radical candidate instead of the known and proven campaigner in Joe Biden. The nomination of a radical is more likely if Biden decides not to run. For Republicans, low approval and widespread distrust of President Trump make any Democratic candidate a threat.
Originally published on The Resurgent

Joe Biden’s Campaign Is The Worst-Kept Secret In Politics


The worst kept secret in politics is that Joe Biden is running for president. It’s so bad that even Ol’ Scrappy Joe can’t keep the secret himself.

“It can't go on like this, folks. I know I get criticized and told I get criticized by the new left,” Biden told Delaware Democrats on CNN last week. “have the most progressive record of anybody running for the United States.” Biden quickly corrected himself, adding, “Anybody who would run!”

The slip of the tongue may not have been intentional, but then again Biden has been stringing Democrats along for months with his vacillations on whether to mount a 2020 campaign or sit out the election as he did in 2016. With the 2020 Democratic field looking increasingly leftist and inexperienced, many moderates, including quite a few moderate Republicans, are hoping for a Biden candidacy.

However, Biden hit upon the key objection to that many Democrats will have to his nomination, namely that the Democratic Party has moved left in the past few years, leaving many to question whether the aging Delaware politician is too far out of the modern Democratic mainstream. There is also the question of whether an aging white man can edge out competition that includes both women and ethnic minorities in the new Democratic Party.

Perhaps following a strategy that understands that the buzz over whether he will get in the race or not is keeping attention turned away from the other hopefuls, Biden continues to be coy about running even as he secures endorsements and weighs the possibility of an early announcement about a running mate.

Biden met with Stacey Abrams, the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Georgia, last week. The meeting fueled speculation that Abrams was under consideration for the vice-presidential slot as a strategy to help shore up support among black voters. Many black voters did not show up for Hillary Clinton in 2016, which helped Donald Trump to secure a slim victory in the Electoral College. Abrams has not announced a presidential campaign but tweeted on March 11 that “2020 is definitely on the table.”

Hillary also had problems motivating young voters. Polling shows that young Democrats favor Biden over other candidates, but there is also speculation that picking Beto O’Rourke for vice president could help Biden shore up support among millennials as well as put Texas in play. However, since Beto is running his own campaign, choosing him as a running mate would mean that an early announcement would be less likely.

O’Rourke’s fundraising prowess would also benefit the Biden campaign. CNN notes that Biden has said that he would not use Super PACs. There are concerns that the senior citizen is not adept at using social media to drive fundraising.

“I think he in certain ways has been wise to string this out because the shorter the race, the better for him. He doesn't have the same demands that others have except for one that's going to be a challenge perhaps for him and that's raising money,” said David Axelrod, former adviser to President Obama. “Joe Biden's not by generation and nature a social media candidate. So, he can't delay this much longer. He has to get around to the business of raising the resources that he needs.”

With all the speculation and attention focused on the former vice president, expectations are high for Biden’s eventual rollout. His announcement is likely to be closely followed by endorsements from a number of high-profile current and former Democratic officials and a fundraising push. While Biden has consistently led in polling of Democratic preferences, a key metric for his campaign will be whether he can match the $6 million raised by Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke in the first day of their official campaigns. If he cannot match these two rivals, it will not bode well for his campaign.

Joe Biden is currently the Democrat to beat even though he isn’t officially in the race, but if the gaffe-prone political veteran flubs the rollout of his campaign or if interest in his candidacy doesn’t translate into dollars, he could prove to be a shooting star, shining brightly for a few seconds and then disappearing.    

Originally published on the Resurgent

Monday, March 18, 2019

Fox Pulls Plug On Judge Jeanine


In a surprising move, Fox News has pulled the plug on Judge Jeanine. The cancellation of Jeanine Pirro’s popular show appears to be related to the loss of advertisers after the judge made controversial comments about Muslim congresswoman Ilhan Omar on March 9.

Fox did not announce the suspension publicly, but Judge Jeanine’s show did not air in its usual time slot on Saturday night. CNN reported that Fox neither confirmed nor denied that Pirro had been suspended or fired. There was no indication of whether Pirro’s show will return next week. Variety reported a few hours before air time on Saturday afternoon that Pirro’s show would be replaced with a rerun of “Scandalous,” a documentary series.

“We are not commenting on internal scheduling matters,” Fox told USA Today in a statement.

On her March 9 show, Pirro questioned in a scripted monologue whether Rep. Omar’s (D-Minn.) use of a hijab, a traditional Muslim head covering, was “antithetical” to the Constitution. “Think about it: Omar wears a hijab,” Pirro said. “Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?”

Pirro’s words were remarkably similar to Omar’s own claims that Jewish congressmen “forgot what country they represent” and need a “refresher” on the Constitution. Omar’s tweet drew widespread criticism from both parties.

After the monologue, several companies pulled their advertising from Pirro’s show. The Hollywood Reporter noted that online auction site Letgo, personal finance company Nerdwallet, and pharmaceutical companies Allergan and Novo Nordisk had dropped the judge.

Pirro did not apologize for the monologue, but denied that she had called Omar “un-American.” Pirro said, “My intention was to ask a question and start a debate, but of course because one is Muslim does not mean you don’t support the Constitution. I invite Representative Omar to come on my show any time to discuss all of the important issues facing America today.”

Judge Jeanine’s absence from the Saturday night lineup created a backlash on social media. In particular, one prominent fan who lives in Washington, D.C. tweeted angrily to the network, “Bring back @JudgeJeanine Pirro.” In strong words usually reserved for CNN, President Trump added, “The Radical Left Democrats, working closely with their beloved partner, the Fake News Media, is using every trick in the book to SILENCE a majority of our Country. They have all out campaigns against @FoxNews hosts who are doing too well.”

The anger didn’t stop with the president. Fox stories posted on Facebook were inundated with angry comments from Pirro’s fans who want Judge Jeanine back.

After the controversial monologue, Fox issued a statement that said, “ We strongly condemn Jeanine Pirro’s comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar,” the network said in a statement. “They do not reflect those of the network and we have addressed the matter with her directly.” There was no indication at the time that Pirro’s show was being suspended or canceled.

Pirro was previously rebuked by Fox last year when she appeared onstage with Sean Hannity at a Trump rally in Missouri. Both hosts delivered remarks backing the president prompting Fox to issue a statement saying, “Fox News does not condone any talent participating in campaign events.”

Fox News hosts have repeatedly come under fire for their behavior in recent years. In addition to appearing at the Trump rally, Sean Hannity angered both the network and advertisers when he refused to drop the Seth Rich conspiracy theory, now proven false, in 2017. Tucker Carlson has gotten in trouble for comments made years ago on a shock radio program as well as more recent populist anti-corporate statements that would be more at home on MSNBC than Fox News. Both Hannity and Carlson are still on the air.

Originally published on The Resurgent

Beto Outraises Bernie Despite Missteps


In the four days since Beto O’Rourke announced his candidacy for president, his campaign has become embroiled in several controversies that may doom his chances even before he leaves the starting gate. Nevertheless, the level of donations that the campaign has received in its early hours indicate a high level of interest in the Texas candidate. It would be a mistake to write off the millennial presidential hopeful despite his campaign’s problems.

Beto’s campaign immediately suffered from a series of missteps as well as revelations about his past. One of the most shocking items is news of an article that he wrote as a teenager in which he fantasized about running over children with his car. The article was posted online for the Cult of the Dead Cow, a hacking group to which the candidate belonged.

“I'm mortified to read it now, incredibly embarrassed, but I have to take ownership of my words,” O’Rourke said of his teen writing in the Chicago Tribune. “Whatever my intention was as a teenager doesn't matter, I have to look long and hard at my actions, at the language I have used, and I have to constantly try to do better.”

O’Rourke also had a lesson on the easily-offended nature of modern Democrats with a seemingly innocuous joke in which he said that his wife, Amy, was raising their three children “sometimes with my help.” Politico notes that the joke disappeared from later speeches after it was pointed out that the reference could reinforce gender stereotypes and O’Rourke apologized, saying that he would be “much more thoughtful going forward in the way that I talk about our marriage, and also the way in which I acknowledge the truth of the criticism that I have enjoyed white privilege.”

The new candidate also faced down the media for what he called a misrepresentation of a statement to Vanity Fair. After telling the magazine that he was “just born to be in it,” Beto criticized the headline that quoted him as saying, “I’m just born to do this” and attempted to distance himself from the idea that he thinks he was born to be president.

“I saw the cover with that quote, ‘Born to run,’ or ‘Born to do this,’ and I was like, ‘Man, I hope I didn’t say that,’” O’Rourke told reporters in Wisconsin on Sunday. “I think the context of that, which makes sense, is the way that I feel, is that I’m born to serve, I’m born to try to help bring people together.”

He continued, “I don’t know that anyone is born for an office or a position, and I certainly am not. But I do think that I find my purpose and function in life in doing this kind of work.”

Aside from the gaffes and skeletons in the closet, the Beto campaign seems to rely more on style than substance. Just prior to his presidential announcement, O’Rourke apologized to a prominent Iowa Democrat for his lack of organization in the crucial early state and his campaign website rolled out with a complete inventory of Beto campaign gear but little in the way of policy positions.

“For all the fanfare, the band was playing a pretty flat tune,” Dave Nagle, Iowa state Democratic Party chairman and a former congressman, told Politico. “There’s just no substance to it.”

O’Rourke still does not have a campaign manager, but he does have experienced advisors. Norm Sterzenbach, a former executive director of the Iowa Democratic Party, and Paul Tewes, who ran Barack Obama’s 2008 effort in Iowa, are helping O’Rourke organize in the Hawkeye state.

“So [O’Rourke] made some missteps,” said another Democratic strategist. “What really matters is when are you putting people on the ground and giving Norm some money to go hire them.”

Despite the missteps, the O’Rourke campaign brought in $6.1 million in its first 24 hours. Beto’s haul eclipses the $5.9 million raised by Bernie Sanders after his announcement and dwarfs the contributions received by other Democrats. For example, Kamala Harris received only $1.5 million following her announcement.

Beto is off to a rocky start but don’t count him out yet. The Texan’s rock star image generated more than $80 million in the 2018 election cycle per the FEC. His ability to generate huge contributions almost cost Ted Cruz his Senate seat. With President Trump’s approval in Texas underwater, an O’Rourke candidacy could put the Lone Star State in play for the first time since 1976.

In many ways, O’Rourke is reminiscent of Barack Obama in 2008, a relatively blank slate with rock star popularity. To capitalize on that popularity, however, Beto must get his campaign organized and show backers that he has the depth to mount a serious national campaign. Against Donald Trump, who also has a reputation as a candidate with a shallow understanding of policy and who is not popular with young or minority voters, Beto could be a formidable candidate.

At this point, the greatest threat to Beto is a Joe Biden candidacy. The former vice president, who has consistently led polling, has hinted that he will soon enter the race. Without Biden in the race, the non-Bernie vote will splinter between the numerous other candidates and O’Rourke has a chance to come out on top. If Biden does decide to run, however, he will be the odds-on favorite for the nomination. In that case, Beto, with his Texas roots and youthful charisma, would be a logical vice-presidential pick.

Originally published on The Resurgent


Friday, March 15, 2019

March 14th, 2019 My Two Cents: Should Conservatives Back Trump in 2020?


Over the past few weeks, many Trump-critical conservatives have decided to draw lines in the sand over President Trump and the 2020 election. Some have reluctantly decided to support the president’s re-election while others have become full-fledged passengers on the Trump Train. Still others are restating their belief that Trump does not deserve conservative support. I may as well jump on the bandwagon and put in my two cents.

I didn’t vote for Trump or Hillary in 2016, choosing instead to cast a protest vote with a third-party candidate. I didn’t believe that either of the major party candidates was a viable choice for president. They were both bad candidates, the worst choices in American history, for different but sometimes overlapping reasons.

I laid out my reasons for not supporting Trump in an op-ed in September 2016. At that point, Trump was still somewhat of an unknown quantity. I listed a bevy of reasons that Trump was unworthy of the privilege of being elected president, some based on his past and some based on his potential actions in office. I wasn’t right about everything and didn’t expect to be since some of the possibilities that I saw were mutually exclusive. For example, you can’t exercise authoritarian control and be incompetent at the same time (yet Donald Trump has almost managed to do this). On the other hand, I was far from being wrong about everything.

After his election, I gave President Trump the benefit of the doubt. I supported his policy where it was good and opposed it when it was bad. In particular, I supported tax reform and the Republican attempt to reform Obamacare. By the end of 2017, after a year of quasi-normal Republican policy and quasi-normal presidential behavior, I was questioning whether I should support Trump’s certain attempt at re-election.

Then came 2018. My guess is that Donald Trump became more comfortable in the role of president in his second year and stopped paying attention to his advisors. The results were predictable and 2018 was a disastrous year for anyone who cares about conservative policy.

A popular trope among some conservatives is that they dislike Trump’s behavior but like his policy. To them, I say that his policy ain’t great. 2018 brought the war of words with Kim Jong Un and the subsequent reversal of traditional US policy to allow two summit meetings without preconditions, trade wars with friend and foe alike, the embarrassing summit with Vladimir Putin, the bump stock ban, bailouts for farmers impacted by the trade wars, new restrictions on legal immigration, insults for NATO allies, the Hobson’s choice of a withdrawal from NAFTA or affirming an inferior treaty, a spur-of-the-moment decision to withdraw from Syria, the ill-advised government shutdown, and deficits even larger than those under Barack Obama to name a few.

To cap off 2018, two of Trump’s best senior advisors, Chief of Staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary James Mattis, were shown the door. It seems to me that these men had been a restraining and guiding force for President Trump. I wrote at the time that without their influence, Trump was unchained and “left to his own devices with no one to check his behavior” and said, “In this phase, we can expect the president to pander to his base by embracing policy positions that he has been advised against until now.” That has proven true already with the president’s blatant attempt to bypass Congress by declaring a national emergency.

If everything else that President Trump did was ideal and perfectly enacted, I’d still have problems voting for him because of the national emergency. Trump’s move is much more egregious than any executive overreach by Barack Obama, which I also opposed, and sets a horrible precedent for future administrations. If Republicans and conservatives (and the two are not the same although there is some overlap) are to have any credibility on the issue of abuse of executive authority, Trump’s power grab must be opposed.

To those conservatives who are rushing to pledge support for Trump 2020, I ask, “What’s your hurry?” The first primary is almost a year away and we don’t even know who is running yet. Given Trump’s recent escapades, a year gives him plenty of time self-destruct and lose support, even among Republicans. It may seem unlikely at this point, but it is not impossible. It is ironic, however, that given Mr. Trump’s left-of-center record on many issues many conservatives will reject other Republican candidates as too liberal.

The idea that conservatives must support Trump to avoid a radical Democrat in another “Flight 93 election” also does not bear up under scrutiny. At least not yet. With almost 20 Democrat candidates, there is no way of knowing who the Democratic nominee will be. It definitely won’t be the new favorite whipping “persons,” Alexandria Ocasio Cortez or Ilhan Omar. Neither will Nancy Pelosi. It is also unlikely to be Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren. There are moderate Democrats in the running who stand a decent chance of being nominated.

For me, the unworthiness of Democrats does not override President Trump’s own unfitness to lead the country. A race between Trump and a radical Democrat would leave me exactly where I was in 2016, especially given the fact that President Trump will, by then, have spent four years proving to me that he shouldn’t be near the levers of power. This is especially true since the Republicans who said that they would hold Trump accountable in 2016 have failed to follow through on their promise.

In one area, Trump’s own success works against his re-election. In 2016, the Supreme Court loomed large and the possibility that Hillary Clinton would tip the balance of the Court to the left swayed many voters toward Trump. That is no longer true in 2020. The confirmations of Neal Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh have secured the centrist (if not conservative thanks to John Roberts and Kavanaugh himself) balance of the Court. A Democratic president appointing a successor to Ruth Bader Ginsburg would not shift the balance.

Finally, for those who desperately want to avoid a Democratic victory, the answer is not to go all-in for Trump. The 2018 midterms were an all-hands-on-deck election in which Republicans were highly (although belatedly) motivated to get-out-the-vote. They still lost and lost big, due in no small part to President Trump. If the 2020 election is a referendum on Trump, and it probably will be, Republicans will be in trouble. By hitching the party to a sinking ship (to mix a metaphor) and shutting out challengers, Republicans are doing their part to ensure that the next president will be Bernie Sanders.

So, what are my plans for 2020? I’m keeping my options open, just as everyone should. There is always the chance that the Democrats will nominate a good candidate or that Donald Trump will experience a sudden outbreak of common sense. I’m not holding my breath for either outcome.

Originally published on The Resurgent

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Senate To Block Trump’s National Emergency, Veto Expected


In a rare rebuke of President Trump, Senate Republicans are expected to join with Democrats today to pass a House resolution blocking the president’s emergency declaration and redirection of other funds toward construction of the wall. President Trump has said that he plans to veto the measure if it passes.

Republicans currently hold 53 seats in the Senate and at least five Republican senators are expected to vote against Trump on the resolution, which has already passed the House. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who originally said that Trump had the authority to declare an emergency, is the most recent Republican to line up against the president. On Wednesday, Lee told Reuters, “ For decades, Congress has been giving far too much legislative power to the executive branch. I will be voting to terminate the latest emergency declaration.”

Other Republicans voting against the measure include Rand Paul of Kentucky, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and Thom Tillis of North Carolina. Still others, such as Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Mitt Romney of Utah, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Johnny Isakson of Georgia,  Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Ben Sasse Nebraska, and Jerry Moran of Kansas are among the Republicans who could join them.

In an ironic claim, President Trump has announced that he plans to use his constitutional veto power to block the resolution that rolls back his abuse of executive authority. In a Thursday morning tweet, the president said, “I am prepared to veto, if necessary. The Southern Border is a National Security and Humanitarian Nightmare, but it can be easily fixed!”


Even though a number of Republicans are crossing the aisle to rein the president’s attempt to bypass Congress’s constitutional authority to appropriate funds, it does not appear that enough Republicans are willing to stand up to Mr. Trump to override a veto.

While President Trump can win the immediate battle with a veto, he is still likely to lose the larger battles of public opinion and getting the wall built. Most polling shows that although voters are split on the wall, they overwhelmingly oppose the use of a national emergency to fund it. A Politico/Morning Consult poll released yesterday found that 52 percent of voters oppose the national emergency, up one percent from a month ago. Ominously for Republicans, independents oppose the declaration by a two-to-one margin.

Even if his veto is upheld, the wall is unlikely to be built anytime soon. The emergency declaration is a transparent attempt to avoid compromising with congressional Democrats that almost certainly violates the letter of the law, as well as its spirit. Sixteen states, including several in the Southwest and along the border, have filed a lawsuit to block Trump’s redirection of federal funds. Courts are likely to block Trump’s executive move and halt construction of the wall for years until the legal questions can be resolved.

As with the government shutdown, President Trump has painted himself into a corner with no good options. The president is doubling down on an unpopular strategy in an attempt to force through a policy that is unpopular outside his own party and that is unlikely to be effective at solving the illegal immigration and smuggling problems on the southern border. The fact that the wall costs billions of dollars at a time when the federal deficit is skyrocketing is icing on the cake.

The president is putting other Republicans in a bad position as well. Congressional Republicans are being forced to go on record either for an unpopular policy or against a president that is popular with the Republican base. The first option will harm them in the next year’s general election while the second will hinder them in their primaries.

In the end, the principled choice for Republicans should be to stand up against the president and for the rule of law. After eight years of criticizing President Obama’s executive abuses and rampant spending, it will be very difficult for Trump Republicans to sign off on the president’s end-run around Congress and debt-fueled spending binge without looking like hypocrites in the eyes of voters around the country.

Originally published on The Resurgent