President Trump’s brilliant plan to shut down the government over his wasteful and offensive border wall vanity project ignores the 2018 midterm results, is sharply at odds with the wishes of the American public, and manages to both divide Republican elected officials and unite Democrats.
As leading voices are pointing out, this is more about the president’s ego and instability rather than a sensible or sound policy, political, or negotiating strategy:
A day after the president declared he would be proud to let funding lapse for dozens of government agencies if he does not get the money he wants for the wall, congressional Republicans signaled little appetite to join his cause.
Republican operatives in the 2018 trenches, now formulating battle plans for the next election, are backing the suburban Republicans blaming Trump for their ejection from Congress. In reviewing polling and other data, they discovered that the president’s provocative immigration rhetoric was more damaging to the House GOP during the final seven to 10 days than they realized at the time … The president’s near-singular focus on those issues repelled Hispanics, independents and soft Republicans, turning a race for House control that leaned Democratic into a late-breaking GOP bloodbath.
Sahil Kapur and Steven T. Dennis of Bloomberg relay Trump’s various failed attempts at securing his border wall, and explain how his poor policy attempts have slowly slipped away:
Trump’s best chance for border wall funding at the level he wants came in February 2018, when Republican Senator Mike Rounds teamed up with independent Senator Angus King on compromise immigration legislation.
It included $25 billion over a decade to build a wall along the southern border and a path to citizenship for so-called Dreamers who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. It also barred green card holders from sponsoring adult children for permanent residency and reoriented enforcement priorities to focus on criminals in the country illegally.
Trump torched the bill as a “giant amnesty” for narrowing the scope of deportations, and complained that it didn’t end diversity visas or stop “chain migration” — his derisive term for laws that allow American citizens to sponsor siblings and parents for green cards.
… Now, with Trump and congressional Democrats at an impasse over the wall money with no clear path to a resolution bringing heightened risk of a partial government shutdown starting next Friday night, Republicans are expressing regrets over the deal that slipped away.
… Republican leaders, who still control the House and Senate, are stuck with no ready way to get such a measure through Congress. No concrete proposal has been offered to break the stalemate and no vote has yet been scheduled on a government funding bill before the money runs out after Dec. 21.
… Senator Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said Trump “believes that his hard line on immigration is one of his real strengths with his political base.”
“We gave him every chance for his godawful wall back in February on a bipartisan vote if he would solve this problem with DACA and the parents involved. He walked away from it,” Durbin said. “We don’t know that we can trust negotiations with him on that issue, based on that experience.”
The standoff intensified after an acrimonious Oval Office meeting Trump held Tuesday with Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, in which a visibly angry president threatened a shutdown over the wall.
“I will shut down the government,” Trump said. “I am proud to shut down the government for border security.”
The Hill: “Dem pollster says Trump’s immigration rhetoric could energize Latino voters”
Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg on Wednesday said that while President Trump’s rhetoric on immigration may galvanize Republican voters, it also energizes Latino voters.
She noted that while it got his Republican base to the poll, the president’s rhetoric leading up to the 2018 midterms also drove suburban and Latino voters out who did not like his “hysteria.”
“I think, for him, he has to talk about immigration. That is sort of one of the core planks,” Greenberg, a partner at Greenberg Quinlan Rosener, told Hill.TV’s Jamal Simmons on “What America’s Thinking.”
“But what doesn’t work is when he goes sort of too far and he activates, particularly the suburban voters who really don’t like the kind of anti-immigrant rhetoric and the hysteria around the caravan,” she continued.
“He went full immigration in the last week of 2018 [campaign], sending troops to the border, talking about the caravan,” she said. “It certainly helped get Republican voters out, but it also helped get, particularly Latinos engaged.”
She added that he needs to try and motivate his base without also driving more Democratic voters to the polls.
The following is a statement from Matt Hildreth, Political Director of America’s Voice:
President Trump has a long history of failing to fund his building projects, and his wall is quickly becoming the latest example. He spent three years pitching the American people on his pet project to ‘build the wall’ and did everything he could to make the midterms a referendum on his xenophobic, nativist, and anti-immigrant agenda. But at the ballot box in November, the American people strongly rejected Trump’s immigration policies. Sending troops to the border and shutting down the government to preserve his ego should be a non-starter. It’s time that Republicans in Congress step in and put an end to this stupidity.