If and when the GOP puts legislation forward, the Democrats have a choice to make. Will they respond in a manner that matches their rhetoric, or will they play a political game — using the plight of families as a wedge issue in the midterms? Even even if they win the House — or capture the House and a bare majority in the Senate (unlikely, but possible) — they still won’t be able to unilaterally force the president’s hand. They will have successfully ridden public anger into political power, but they won’t have ensured an end to the crisis.

That’s a cynical political game. That’s business as usual in a broken government.

If we face a crisis, then politicians should act like it. If we can stop family separation today, then we should. No, that doesn’t mean Democrats should cave to every GOP demand (nor does it mean that the GOP should lard up a bill with known poison pills), but it does mean signaling a willingness to reach across the aisle, build a veto-proof majority, and defy an administration you claim you don’t trust.