Mitch McConnell says the president will sign the budget deal and he will also declare a national emergency to build the wall, as I expected.
We’ll see the legal justifications he uses, but as a political and constitutional matter this is a long-term disaster. Oh, it might be good for Trump according to the metrics he cares about. But it will also be good for Democrats. That was my argument all along: The incentive structure on both sides made the declaration all but inevitable. Trump gets to say he fights. The fact that courts will likely stymie much from being done will give Trump the issue of the wall (and those horrible liberal judges), which he cares about more than the wall itself. It will absolve Republicans from most of the criticism that would have been heaped on them for having done next to nothing until now. And it will allow the Democrats to turn up the volume on Trump’s supposedly dictatorial and democratic-norm-bending tendencies.
The simple fact is that failing to get the budget you want from Congress isn’t a national emergency, regardless of how much you invoke national security and talk about invasion. And it is palpably obvious that most of the people cheering the news aren’t relieved that a pressing national-security threat is about to be averted.