The Power to Declare


Jeffrey Toobin probably did not write the headline that appears over his post at the New Yorker site this afternoon: Can Donald Trump Invoke Emergency Powers to Get His Wall?

The answer is Yessiree Bob, he can do that very thing. Yes, indeedy, he can do that exact thing. He can invoke until he is blue in the face. And while he is invoking and declaring, he can also declare that the moon is made of green cheese.

That two plus two equals seventeen.

That the week has twenty-two days.

Emergency + Shutdown

And here’s something else he can do, and, I think, very probably will do: declare his state of emergency, see how it plays in court, and try to keep the government shut in the meantime. See this evening’s Politico post: White House warns shutdown could carry on after emergency declaration: Trump may tap his emergency powers without reopening the government, a move some allies say could ‘screw’ Democrats.

Actually, the screwees will more likely be the Senate Republicans. See discussion below.

Donald’s Choice

Donald had a fundamental choice to make: either (1) back off the horseshit, and label whatever result he got on border security as a famous victory, or (2) go for broke, riling up the base, and painting himself into a corner where he couldn’t compromise and retain any credibility with his raging mob.

Actually, Donald Only Had One Option

Because Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh weren’t going to let him get away with choice (1).

And the shit is about to hit the fan with the Mueller report. Without a revved-up base, hopping up and down, his goose will be well and truly cooked. So his only option was to rile up his base and thus to severely limit his negotiating flexibility.

That was true last week. It’s true this week. It will be true next week. It will be true next month.

There is no off ramp for The Donald.

There will never be an off ramp for The Donald.

It’s Crunch Time for the Senate Republicans

Either the shutdown will continue, or the Senate Republicans are going to have to work out something veto-proof with Chuck and Nancy.

And, given that the rabble is roused to a fare thee well, a Senate Republican deal over Trump’s veto will drive a meat cleaver through the Republican coalition.

And why might they take such a suicidal course?

Because their paymasters, seeing the United States rapidly turning into a failed state, tell them that’s what they have to do.

off ramp