Welllllllll, it’s not hard to understand if you try. Republicans have a two-vote margin in the Senate. They’re a fractured party, split between moderates and conservatives, populists and establishmentarians. And they’re led by a president whom many of them (all of them?) privately disdain. Senate Democrats typically vote unanimously in opposition, which means McConnell can’t afford defections even when he’s operating under the more lenient rules for budgetary issues that allow bills to pass with 51 votes. (In this case he needs 60.) When all of those factors obtain — divided majority, unified minority, very narrow margin — go figure that “single-party rule” often won’t look like single-party rule.
Shep knows all of that, though. He’s posing this rhetorical question to advance the coming Democratic spin that a shutdown is necessarily the Republicans’ fault. Never mind that the GOP added a long-term extension of CHIP to sweeten the deal for Dems. Never mind that Trump himself has repeatedly endorsed the DREAM amnesty that Democrats covet, provided they don’t make him look like a complete chump by offering him peanuts for more security in return — which, of course, they have. Even some liberals lately have taken to urging Schumer to just give him the farking wall already, as it’ll purchase legal status for millions of DREAMers and some family members. But they won’t do it.
In fact, one of the three Senate Republicans who’s planning to vote no on the House bill has taken that position because he agrees with Democrats that it should include an amnesty for DREAMers. McConnell can’t avert a shutdown in part because Lindsey Graham sides with Chuck Schumer and Shep Smith in wanting to trade a DREAM amnesty for essentially nothing.
And yet Shep’s prepared to blame Republicans, not Democrats, for a shutdown.
Good point by Drew McCoy:
I think we're not paying enough attention to the fact Democrats have been saying for DECADES
shutting down the government is the most dangerous thing imaginable and are now willing to do just that for illegal aliens.
That's pretty astounding.
— Drew McCoy (@_Drew_McCoy_) January 19, 2018
All they need to do to put DREAM into the mix is agree to some reasonable enforcement measures. No endless chain migration for newly legalized DREAM families; more emphasis on skills-based standards for immigration; a little change for the wall. They won’t do it, partly because they want to reserve meaningful concessions on enforcement for a mega-amnesty of the entire illegal population down the road at some point and partly because this is who Democrats are now on immigration. They’re willing to hold immigration enforcement hostage as leverage in negotiations with Republicans. It’s a chit, not a matter of basic security and territorial integrity. They should be blamed for a shutdown for that reason alone. They’re not even hiding their culpability from the media:
BREAKING: Senior Democratic aide tells NBC News that Democrats have enough votes to block the spending bill in the Senate and prevent Republicans from keeping the government up and running
— Evan Rosenfeld (@Evan_Rosenfeld) January 18, 2018
They’ve taken the position they have, pure and simple, because they believe there are enough Shep Smiths in the media to carry this water for them that they don’t need to bend. The chatterati will, they expect, bend public opinion towards them. We’ll see. Tim Alberta makes a good point: If a shutdown happens, Trump could at least try to spin it as a byproduct of populist war on the elites. He insisted on immigration enforcement, the open-borders establishment refused, so now we have a stalemate. A DREAM amnesty is very popular in polling, but again, Trump’s not against it and could reiterate that from his soapbox. If this is going to happen, make Democrats defend their opposition to border integrity as something important enough to warrant shutting down government functions because of it. Let’s see how that plays.