Sometime in the next few days, President Donald Trump will do one of two things, depending on whether or not Congress will come up with a solution to the impasse vis-à-vis the wall that he insists must be erected.
He will either again shut down roughly one fourth of the federal government, as he did in December, last year, or he will declare a national emergency, which he believes will allow him to divert funds from various sources in order to erect that wall or fence or barrier in the southern border with Mexico.
Neither step will do anybody any good, except for Mr. Trump himself.
Hundreds of thousands of American workers will again enter a period of uncertainly should he opt for another shutdown. Mr. Trump will ignore the enormous damage he does to the workers and their families with the shutdown.
If he chooses to declare a national emergency, on the other hand, the Democrats are sure to seek redress from the courts, which in all likelihood will declare the national emergency non-existent, thereby making the presidential action null and void. This is because too many experts will testify in court that there is no existing emergency that requires such an extreme step by the chief executive.
Most Republicans are aware that either step will cause great harm to the party. After taking a beating in the 2018 elections, next year’s presidential polls could be disastrous to the GOP if the president continues to take more politically harmful moves.
A second shutdown or a declaration of national emergency could result in near fatal consequences in 2020.
There is, however, one more step that the president can take that will be acceptable to most, except his most fanatical supporters. That step is to do nothing.
This is not as simple or ridiculous as it seems.
Mr. Trump can simply concentrate on the job at hand, which is to be president of the United States, of all Americans. He can continue to boost the economy, which is the source of his greatest success as president, as he likes to point out.
He can also make the world a safer place. With his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un about to take place, he can hammer out some kind of agreement with the young dictator to tone down on his military build-up and focus on the economy instead.
Whatever step Mr. Trump takes will have its critics. He might as well take one that will cause the least damage. He must learn to accept the undeniable fact that Congress is now controlled by the Democrats.
He has always prided himself in being a master of the art of the deal. The time has come to show just how good a dealmaker he is.
He can start by stopping the useless and divisive insults aimed at the people who do not agree with him. Lest he forget, healthy debates are among the pillars of a true democracy.
There are many learned men and women among the Democrats and Republicans. He should lend them an ear before making any decision involving another shutdown or declaration of a national emergency.