The battle for control of Congress in 2018 starts this month.

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ABC News / YouTube Trump Assassination Attempt Thwarted...
ABC News / YouTube

I hope you all had safe and very happy holidays. Personally, I hated it. Everybody was out of Washington and back home, and how long can you keep on making fun of Twitterdums short game? But now it’s back to work, and I’m as happy as a pig in slop.

The general election is 11 months away, and most state primaries won’t even start until May or June, but the battle for 2018 starts right now, this month. Tick-tock, the clock is ticking. The federal government will be as broke as Trump’s moral compass at midnight on January 19th. The Democrats made a tactical decision to give the GOP a clean short term extension on December 22, rather than risk being portrayed as Scrooge over DACA. But now, there will ber no more delays on the showdown.

Right now, Mitch McConnell must wish that the internet had never been invented. Once again, in what should have been the calm before the storm, His Lowness did what he does best, fuck everything up. Sitting around in Mar-A-Lago with nothing better to do than worry about his short putz, I mean putts, The Inglorious Basterd fired up his equally stubby thumbs, tweeting out that there would be no deal on DACA that didn’t include funding for his border wall. The problem is that every with 12 functioning brain cells already knows that without DACA, their is no budget, and that the Democrats will shut the whole shebang down rather than to give Trump one penny for his wall.

Look, there is no compromise here, somebody is going to be seen as losing this fight, the two sides are simply too entrenched. Momentum is with the Democrats for two reasons. First, the Democrats have tied DACA to the budget extension. If the government shuts down, Trump can sheep bleat about Democratic obstruction all he wants to, the GOP controls the entire government, it will be on them, and most people don’t pay attention enough to politics to know that McConnell will need 9 Democratic votes to get a budget or even another CR through the Senate. And Second, not only are a lot of moderate Republicans in congress sick of this fight, and willing to get something done, but the Chamber of Commerce, and a lot of businesses, especially agricultural businesses would like this whole immigration problem solved, firming up a reliable labor force going into the future. In a governmental pissing contest, especially with the prospect of the government shutting down, pressure will be on the GOP to accommodate, while pressure on the Democrats from immigration activists will be to hold the line.

The real pressure comes from the fact that this issue is essential to the bases of both parties. It was a Democratic President, Barack Obama who signed DACA, and like the ACA, DACA is a program popular enough that the Democrats can paint the GOP an ugly black color over it, inspiring their base. But even thought immigration reform has long been a GOP talking point, it was Trump who elevated it with his stupid and and untenable blather about a “big, beautiful wall that Mexico was going to pay for.” And even though consistent polling has shown that even Trump supporters profess to have never expected the wall to be built, they just liked the sound of it, and the passion, immigration and the promise of the wall was the principle promise of the Trump campaign.

The time for slogans and platitudes is past, and one side is going to lose face. Building the wall flies in the face of the very principle of DACA, the Democrats can’t allow one penny for funding it, or lose the hard fought enthusiasm of their base, especially the critical Latino population. And both Virginia and Alabama have already proved to the GOP that the Trump base will sit at home and watch reruns of The Dukes of Hazard if Trumps name is not on the ballot. If it appears to the base that Trump folded on his promise of the wall, the Democratic wave in 2018 could approach biblical Noah’s Ark proportions. Whatever the outcome, somebody is going to win, and somebody is going to lose.

The Democrats biggest risk would be in allowing even a red cent to fund the wall, something that his highly unlikely given the Democrats leverage in this situation. But ehe Republicans greatest risk is hammering out an agreement with Democrats on DACA and a CR, only to have Trump veto it out of spite when there is no wall funding in it. The GOP is already going to be running against the prospect of a party with nothing to show for their first year but a tax law that enjoys 24% support before the full con is even exposed, as well as the specter of an enraged population when the new, much higher health insurance premiums for 2019 are unveiled in October, thanks to the striking of the individual mandate in the tax law. A lengthy government shutdown over funding for a fantasy wall could be the coup de grace for the GOP in 2018. They know this, but the question is whether or not they can convince the Tangerine Tantrum of simple logic. Don’t bet on it, Trump lives in a fantasy world, remember?

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