Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Could the Turtle Become Extinct?

Turtles are not generally known for their ability to herd cats, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has been pretty good at it for some 15+ years. That era could now be approaching an end. The cats are now in open rebellion against him. The reason is that the carefully crafted Lankford-Murphy border bill, which McConnell supports and Donald Trump opposes, has split the Senate Republican Conference. De facto, that divides the caucus into the McConnell sub-caucus and the Trump sub-caucus. The Trump side now even has a leader as the #3 Republican senator, John Barrasso (R-WY), came out against the border bill, one of the reasons it went down to defeat. Senate Republicans who actually want a border solution (as well as aid to the three countries) are scared witless to cross Trump. He is as close as you get to being a dictator while still technically a private citizen. Even Barrasso, who as the #3 Republican in the Senate has far more actual power than Trump does, feels he has to bow to Trump.

Another powerful Republican who opposed the bill is Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), the chairman of the NRSC. He said: "I can't support a bill that doesn't secure the border, provides taxpayer-funded lawyers to illegal immigrants and gives billions to radical open borders groups. I'm a no." Lankford, who still supports his own bill, replied: "You've got to be able to actually have a moment that you can actually solve problems." Of course, Lankford is ignoring the fact that Trump and his puppets do not want to solve the problem.

McConnell's term in the Senate ends on Jan. 3, 2027, when he will be almost 85. He probably won't stand for reelection in 2026, partly on account of various health issues he has had, including a triple bypass, concussions, and possible TIAs. But he has to run for reelection as head of the Republican caucus on Jan. 3, 2025, no matter which party controls the Senate. He has been challenged before, but now that he is butting heads with a substantial fraction of his caucus, he will be in for a giant battle in January. If Trump is in the White House and Republicans have a Senate majority, no matter how small, he is certainly not going to go gentle into that good night and will fight tooth and nail to keep his leadership position for one last hurrah.

If Trump wins the presidency and the Democrats win the House (the latter of which is probably a better than 50-50 bet), then Trump will never get a bill as good as this one. In fact, any bill written by Democrats in either chamber will contain enough poison pills to kill a whole herd of elephants, for example, granting full citizenship to all the Dreamers who have been in the country for 10 years. Trump may or may not know this, but McConnell certainly does and he wants to get something through now, while he has the chance. But again, Trump is not interested in sealing the leaky border. He is interested in winning the election so he can pardon himself. McConnell, oddly enough for him, actually wants to do the right thing for the country. What's wrong with this picture? (V)

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