By the time you read this, you’ll know whether the federal government has been partially shut down for the holidays.
You’ll also know whether Donald Trump had the political courage and brains to do what Republicans running Congress have failed to do for two years — put their butts on the line to fund a stronger border wall on our southern border.
And you’ll know whether the president’s chances for getting reelected in 2020 have gone up or down.
Going into Friday, everything about a potential government shutdown over Trumps’ wall was still up in the air.
President Trump was threatening to not sign a “continuing resolution” that would temporarily fund the federal government until February because the House bill did not contain money for building a border wall.
Conservatives in Congress and in the media were urging Trump not to sign.
Democrats in Congress and the liberal media were spreading fear and hysteria about the dire effects of a government shutdown on innocent people, as they always do.
Republicans in the House scrambled to pass a bill that added $5 billion for wall funding to the bill the Senate has already passed.
Meanwhile, future House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Senate soulmate Chuck Schumer were declaring that Democrats in Congress will never vote to fund a border wall - or a fence, or a moat, or whatever Trump wants to call it.
Late Thursday, they were on TV complaining that “Trump’s Tantrum” was throwing the country into chaos.
If a fourth of the gigantic federal government is shut down temporarily by Trump by midnight Friday, it won’t be his fault.
It won’t be the Democrats’ fault, either. It’ll be the Republican’s fault — especially party leaders like House Speaker Paul Ryan.
They’re the chickenhearted ones in Congress who put President Trump behind the political eight ball.
Speaker Ryan never wanted the border wall, so he would never bring up a bill to fund it for a vote in the House. Trump forced his hand at the last minute.
It would have been much easier for Republicans, and the president, if Ryan had done the right thing and made House Democrats vote for or against funding the wall months ago.
The president recently said he’d be proud to take the blame for shutting down the government over the important issue of border security, but he really has no choice.
With Pelosi and her gang ready to take over the House for the next two years, this is Trump’s last chance to get funding for his wall.
The Democrats in Washington and everywhere else don’t want real border security, now or ever.
I’ve got a new governor here who wants open borders, who wants to turn California into a sanctuary state, who wants to give illegals free health care and who wants to pay homeowners like me to house homeless people in our backyards.
President Trump, who’s in the White House because of the slogan “Build the wall,” has already said he’d never sign another continuing resolution to fund the government if it didn’t contain money for a strong border wall.
Now’s his time to put up or shut up.
If he doesn’t stand his ground now against Pelosi and Schumer, and if he doesn’t get serious funding for the wall, his political base will say goodbye.
So will his supporters and defenders in the media, like Anne Coulter, who’s already threatened to do as much.
For President Trump, and the Republican Party, the political stakes for this vote are as high as they can get.
Speaker Ryan and the House Republicans never found the courage to pass a bill to fund the wall. They repeatedly showed they had no balls.
What Trump decides to do on this latest continuing resolution bill will either win or lose him the election in 2020.
In my opinion, he can’t lose in 2020 by not signing it. He can only lose by signing it.
He must shut down the federal government over the border wall. By Saturday, we’ll learn if he had the balls to do it.
Michael Reagan, the son of President Ronald Reagan, is a political consultant, and the author of “Lessons My Father Taught Me: The Strength, Integrity, and Faith of Ronald Reagan.” He is the founder of the email service reagan.com and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at www.reagan.com and www.michaelereagan.com. Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com. Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.