Trump border emergency: the Republican Senate has a math problem


On Tuesday, the Democratic-majority House will vote to disapprove President Donald Trump's decision to declare a national emergency along our southern border. Once this happens, the Senate will have 18 days, in accordance with the law, to vote by itself on the preferred resolution.

And for the moment, momentum against the Republican leaders of the Senate and Senate, highlighting the possibility that the president may be forced to make the first veto of his mandate on what is widely regarded as his bigger campaign promise, an embarrassing moment to say. the least. The latest crack in Republican support for Trump's wall – or, at least, his decision to use his national emergency powers to channel funds previously allocated to the construction of the border fence – is intervened on Monday, when Senator Thom Tillis (R) of North Carolina announced that he would vote for the resolution of disapproval. Here's a bit of what he wrote in a Washington Post editorial announcing the decision:

"As an American senator, I can not justify giving the executive more ways to bypass Congress." As a Conservative, I can not endorse a precedent that I know the future presidents of left will to exploit radical policies that will erode economic and individual freedoms, and that is why I would vote in favor of the resolution disapproving of the president 's national emergency declaration, if and when it will be presented to the Senate. "

This makes Tillis the second Republican senator who will side with the Democrats on the resolution of disapproval in the vote. (The senator from Maine, Susan Collins, said last week that she would support the measure of disapproval.) A third – the Alaska Senator, Lisa Murkowski – has pronounced definitively in favor of the resolution, telling reporters Tuesday that she would support it.
Trump was trying to keep the Republicans hesitant in rank with a tweet Monday: "I hope that our great Republican Senators will not be directed to a weak and ineffective border security.Without strong borders, we have no country – and the electors are on board with us.Be strong and smart, do not fall into the "trap" of the Democrats "Open borders and crime"!

Assuming that the 47 Democrats – including the two independents who sit in the caucus – vote for the resolution, it means that only one more Republican must defect in order to place the disapproval resolution on the President's desk. (No Democrats came out and said he would oppose the measure.) The two most likely to do so – if any – are Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and the Senator Alabama Senator Doug Jones.)

Sen. John Cornyn (Texas) told CNN's Ted Barrett on Monday that he would oppose this measure, but expects it to be passed by the Senate, forcing Trump to exercise its right to veto, since both chambers would not have both. majority of thirds to overthrow him.

Part of that is a wait for Cornyn, trying to reduce expectations to the point where if the measure of disapproval goes beyond the Senate, he – and Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (Kentucky) – can try to downplay the impact or their surprise. .

But let's play that. There are currently at least 50 votes for the national emergency disapproval resolution. Where could the other come from? (The measure would need 51 votes to be passed.)

The fact that Collins and Tillis have already signed up to vote for the disapproval resolution is telling when you are trying to spot who else might be missing. Both candidates must be re-elected in 2020 in very dynamic states. A vote against the proposal of disapproval would surely be a food for their eventual Democrat opponents, who would use this vote to nominate incumbents as unconditional supporters not only of a proposal that a majority of the country opposes ( Trump border wall), but of a president not very well liked in both states.

By these standards, here are the Republican Senators who might have the strongest political reason to be for the measure of disapproval:

1) Cory Gardner (Colorado)Gardner represents a state lost by Trump in 2016 and is a major target for Democrats in 2020. He has not yet declared his position on the resolution but said last week that "Congress is best placed to fund border security ".
2) Martha McSally (Arizona): McSally lost the race in the 2018 Senate against Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D), but was appointed to fill the vacancy following the resignation of Senator Jon Kyl (R) in mid-December. This makes McSally potentially vulnerable as she seeks the rest of Kyl's mandate in 2020. Her decision is particularly cumbersome because Arizona, a border state, has long been at the forefront of the national fight against immigration , with many of the frankest supporters of the Trump Wall border making a lot of noise in the state. (I am talking about you, former Maricopa County sheriff, Joe Arpaio.) Under these conditions, a vote in favor of the disapproval resolution could be causing a serious and serious challenge for McSally. But voting against the measure could also be a problem during a general election. McSally has been very quiet about this issue, but she will have to decide soon.

3) Joni Ernst (Iowa): The Hawkeye State opted for Trump in 2016 but returned strongly to the Democrats at the mid-point in 2018. The Democrats lost their best rookie in the form of former governor Tom Vilsack (D) last week, but continue among others the representative Cindy Axne. A recent survey suggests that rookie Ernst is well positioned in 2020, but she still needs to be aware of the changing dynamics of her condition. It is therefore not surprising that Ernest has not yet spoken much publicly about how she could vote on the resolution.

Taken together, the conclusion is simple: the calculation and momentum go against Senate Republicans currently. Of course, 18 days is a good time for McConnell and Cornyn to reverse the situation and to prevent Trump's first veto as president against his wall.

But to date, this seems to be exactly the direction we are taking.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correctly indicate the votes needed for the success of the disapproval action. He is 51.

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