Congressional Democrats are wobbling most on the wall
To read the press, you'd think Republicans are the only ones feeling the heat from the government shutdown over President Trump's insistence on constructing a border wall based on his argument that it's a national crisis. This Bloomberg story is one example of it, pointing to a general Republican unity in the showdown, but making its story all about GOP 'cracks emerging.'
Most GOP lawmakers remained firmly behind President Donald Trump’s fight to fund a border wall but that solidarity was beginning to crack among Republicans from competitive states and districts as the impact of the government shutdown spread.
The Bloomberg report is not utterly bad - there apparently are some House Republicans in swing districts who are showing signs of wavering, but for starters, Bloomberg was only able to name two of them from the House - Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan, and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania. The latter represents Pennsylvania's 1st Dstrict, which is in the 'burbs' just north of Philadelphia, with large numbers of government workers living there. The former represents Michigan's 6th District, situated between Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Chicago, quite likely with a lot of affected government workers as well. Bloomberg didn't mention any of that, which would show that their wavering is rather expected, though they did mention that these both were swing districts. A few GOP senators were also named, but they included the usual waverers, such as Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado. A third, Sen. Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia, didn't sound like a waverer at all, because she wanted the Border Patrol to get funded, something every Republican would likely agree President Trump should do, now that a new migrant caravan is making its way to the U.S. To Bloomberg's credit, they also reported several arguments from GOP leaders that the party was unified with one GOP leader saying the waverers numbered about seven, all of them "usual suspects." The mystery is why Bloomberg reported this as news and put the focus on Republicans, then, because it's not exactly where the news is.
Actually, the Washington Free Beacon found a stronger story - that the Democratic coalition is seeing 'cracks emerging.' It names names, it provides quotes to support the argument, and it delivers quantity.
"Some fencing has uses. Some barriers are useful," Sen. Jeff Merkley (D,. Ore.) said.
"If we have a partial wall, if we have fencing, if we have technology used to keep our border safe, all of that is fine," Rep. Cheri Bustos (D., Ill.) said.
"There are areas along the border where there are currently fences that are put up or barriers that are put up that need to be enhanced," Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.) said.
"Certainly you need barriers and we support barriers," Sen. Ben Cardin (D., Md.) said.
"Certain physical barriers can make sense along the border, and a lot of places you already have that," Rep. John Sarbanes (D., Md.) said.
"I think there are parts of the border that would benefit from repairing fencing and other barricades that already exist there," Rep. Katherine Clark (D., Mass.) said.
If I wanted to be real tough and skeptical, I guess I could say it's possible some of these quotes are taken out of context and these Democrats remain stubborn opponents of Trump's wall despite their words, given that not all that much background or their full speeches were used, but the list here is quite long, and the article explicitly argues that these Democrats are wavering, which may well mean they are, it sure sounds like it. You don't hear these kinds of statements coming out of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or Sen. Chuck Schumer, the leaders of the no-money-for-a-wall open border Democrat stance. To say these statements from Democrats, elected on moderate platforms in districts that voted for Trump, don't signal some kind of wavering is a stretch.
The companion action from the media on the Republicans-wavering weak-horse "narrative" is to show that polls show support for Democrats in all things, so a lot are coming out to say Americans blame Republicans and President Trump for this shutdown dilemma. It's a false argument, not the least because the same public cited has growing numbers in favor of a border wall.
I also suspect the GOP knows it, which helps it to keep a unified stance. And it probably helps that the GOP has been to this rodeo before, too. Pre-enactment polls also showed that the GOP tax cuts that created so many new jobs and salary hikes now were supposedly unpopular before the measure was passed, and the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was supposedly unpopular, too.
In both cases, the GOP held firm and the GOP won, big, by not wavering, no matter what the polls said. That's greater evidence that the GOP is holding more firm than the news reports (and Bloomberg wasn't the only one) suggested. The GOP knows what happens when it wavers. It also knows what Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's promises for a debate after the government is funded are worth. Above all, it knows very well what happens when it stands firm.
My money is on the Democrats cracking before the GOP does in this border wall and government shutdown duel.