The media flip back and forth on who's to blame for a government shutdown depending on which branch is controlled by Republicans. But the "shutdown" hypothetical in this case is a trick question.
A failure to build the wall IS a government shutdown.
Of course it would be unfortunate if schoolchildren couldn't visit national parks and welfare checks didn't get mailed on time. But arranging White House tours isn't the primary function of the government.
The government's No. 1 job is to protect the nation.
This has always been true, but it's especially important at this moment in history, when we have drugs, gang members, diseases and terrorists pouring across our border. The failure of the government to close our border is the definition of a government shutdown.
This isn't like other shutdowns. Democrats can't wail about Republicans cutting Social Security or school lunches. They are willing to shut the government down because they don't want borders.
Take that to the country!
As commander in chief, Trump doesn't need Congress to build a wall. The Constitution charges him with defending the nation. Contrary to what you may have heard from various warmongers on TV and in Trump's Cabinet, that means defending ourborders -- not Ukraine's borders.
Building a wall is not only Trump's constitutional duty, but it's also massively popular.
Although Trump doesn't need congressional approval for a wall, it was smart for him to demand a vote. Let the Democrats run for re-election on opposing the wall.
Let Sen. Claire McCaskill explain to the parents of kids killed by illegals that she thought a wall was inhumane.
Let Sen. Angus King say to the people of Maine that instead of a wall that would block heroin from pouring into our country, he thought a better plan was to sponsor a bunch of treatment centers for after your kid is already addicted.
Let Sen. Chuck Schumer tell us why it's OK for Israel to have a wall, but not us.
Let open borders Republicans like Sen. Marco Rubio tell African-Americans that it's more important to help illegal aliens than to help black American teenagers, currently suffering a crippling unemployment rate.
Republicans are both corrupt and stupid, so it's hard to tell which one animates their opposition to the wall. But the Democrats are bluffing. They're trying to get the GOP to fold before they show us their pair of threes.
Now that Trump has capitulated on even asking for funding for a wall, the Democrats are on their knees saying, "Thank you, God! Thank you, God!"
No politician wants to have to explain a vote against the wall. What the Democrats want is for Trump to be stuck explaining why he didn't build the wall.
Then it will be a bloodbath. Not only Trump, but also the entire GOP, is dead if he doesn't build a wall. Republicans will be wiped out in the midterms, Democrats will have a 300-seat House majority, and Trump will have to come up with an excuse for why he's not running for re-election.
The New York Times and MSNBC are not going to say, "We are so impressed with his growth in office, we're going to drop all that nonsense about Russia and endorse the Republican ticket!"
No, at that point, Trump will be the worst of everything.
No one voted for Trump because of the "Access Hollywood" tape. They voted for him because of his issues; most prominently, his promise to build "a big beautiful wall." And who's going to pay for it? MEXICO!
You can't say that at every campaign rally for 18 months and then not build a wall.
Do not imagine that a Trump double-cross on the wall will not destroy the Republican Party. Oh, we'll get them back. No, you won't. Trump wasn't a distraction: He was the last chance to save the GOP.
Millions of Americans who hadn't voted in 30 years came out in 2016 to vote for Trump. If he betrays them, they'll say, "You see? I told you. They're all crooks."
No excuses will work. No fiery denunciations of the courts, the Democrats or La Raza will win them back, even if Trump comes up with demeaning Twitter names for them.
It would be an epic betrayal -- worse than Bush betraying voters on "no new taxes." Worse than LBJ escalating the Vietnam War. There would be nothing like it in the history of politics.
He's the commander in chief! He said he'd build a wall. If he can't do that, Trump is finished, the Republican Party is finished, and the country is finished.