Trump is up against his own wall

Good news from congressional Republicans. The next month-plus-long government shutdown, tentatively scheduled to begin on Friday, is off. We’re going to be a functional republic on paper, at least for a little while longer. Freude, schöner Götterfunken!

The only question is how. Speaking on Fox News last week, Rep. Chuck Fleischhmann (R-Tenn.), one of the members of the bipartisan group tasked with reaching some kind of legislative compromise on border security, said the interest in another shutdown among the GOP in the House is “nil, or next to nil.” “In this situation,” he added, “there is no appetite on either side of the aisle and I think in either chamber for another partial government shutdown.” Fleischmann went on to suggest that the spending bill produced by the House will “maybe” include some kind of funding for a border fence.

If this is the case, Nancy Pelosi has already reneged on her promise of zero funding for the wall. Imagine that. But whatever a House-approved budget provides, it is unlikely to be anything near the $6-or-so billion requested by President Trump. Will he take the deal? If so, how will he go about selling this concession to his followers? In the game of chicken with Pelosi and the Democrats last month, he swerved first. If his State of the Union address last week told us anything, it is that looking ahead to 2020, Trump is interested in appealing to the sensibilities of voters in the middle of the country, both literally and figuratively — the same purple-state Midwestern moderates who secured his election in 2016. These are people who agree with him up to a point about border security and is even sold on the idea of some kind of wall — but not at the expense of interminable chaos in Washington. They might forgive him one or two shutdowns a year, but not two protracted ones in as many months. He is with his party in Congress on this one: no new shutdown.

What about serious immigration hawks, though? Here Trump is up against his own wall. Does he actually care about what people like Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter think of him? Yes. And he understands that there does exist a core group of voters who have come to see his presidency as something virtually synonymous with the wall and the reduction of immigration.

Fortunately, with the honorable exception of Coulter herself, most of these people are too enamored of Trump to hold him to his promises. If he spins his support for a compromise spending bill as a crucial first step or the unavoidable result of treachery by the Soros cabal in the Democratic Party or the realization of his dream for a more futuristic drone wall that is also an incredible savings to the American people, they will nod along like contented children. The wall thing is mostly a game of make-believe anyway. It will be good enough for them.

There is always the possibility, of course, …read more

Source:: The Week – Politics


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