Now that Trump has forced Republicans to deal with immigration reform, a topic they like to campaign on but not actually do anything about, the more Trumpish (read as: racist) among them see an opening to force the Democrats to fund Trump's wall of pure racism:
Meanwhile, some Republicans such as conservative Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas are openly floating trade-offs to protect DACA recipients, even as Democrats insist that Dreamers aren’t bargaining chips for tougher immigration restrictions. In the House, senior Republicans still believe there’s a possible deal to be struck with Democrats: codifying DACA in return for Trump’s sought-after border wall.
It should be astonishing how casually Republicans use 800,000 lives as leverage, but it really isn't. Now that they lack the ability to govern rationally, all the GOP has left is policy by way of extortion and crisis and this qualifies as both. Trump doesn't understand the bind he's put them in but the people who almost certainly put the idea into his empty head, Steve Bannon, who Trump still talks to, and Steven Miller, know that either Republicans take the bait or risk pissing off their already angry base.
Republicans, for the most part, really don't want to build the wall for the same reason they don't want to deport millions of Latinos: It would fully activate the Latino vote and turn it against them for decades. This would immediately put Arizona, Texas and North Carolina at risk and as the fastest growing demographic, it would spell the end of the party in the not-so-long run. The only solution would be to strip Latinos of the right to vote one way or another. Republicans are already hard at work doing this but they would have to take it to a level so extreme that the racial impetus would no longer be able to hide behind false claims of "voter fraud." Without that fig leaf of legitimacy, the whole charade falls apart.
This risk of mobilizing Latinos is also part of the reason Republicans have been avoiding dealing with immigration reform. It's a no win situation for them. Punishing the Latino community turns them against the GOP in numbers they can't afford but giving undocumented immigrants any path to citizenship will trigger a successful primary challenge from the alt-right so fast the new Republicans won't even have time to shout "Seig Heil!" before being sworn in on a copy of "Mein Kampf".
Of course, if Republicans can force the Democrats to sign off on the wall to save the Dreamers, they can hide behind the "bipartisan" nature of it to deflect the anger of the Latino community. The press, which will be wallowing in the bipartisanship claim like a pig in shit, will neglect to mention the cooperation of the Democrats was coerced. It's a very attractive option that feeds the GOP's base and shields them from the worst of the blowback.
On the other hand, there is exactly no incentive for Democrats to play along with the ransom demand. Trading one racist agenda item for another is not the way forward. Besides, Republicans are already fighting among themselves about how to deal with DACA:
A growing number of Republicans have urged Trump not to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — with some lashing out against the president in harsh terms — while other GOP lawmakers have indicated he is not ending the five-year-old initiative quickly enough.
As the Republican moderates and extremists once again fail to reach a compromise, Trump will either have to take action on his own, thus enraging the Latino community and turning them against the GOP, or do nothing and appear weaker than ever. Most likely, he'll look to please his white nationalist base and go after the Dreamers, leaving him even more isolated from the very Republicans whose support he needs while exacerbating the internal strife making their lives a living hell.
Trump is like a plate of rotten fish that Republicans are being forced to eat from. Holding your nose won't save you from the digestive nightmare to come and people like Bannon and Miller are keeping the plate as full as possible. We really should put them out of their misery and vote them out of office for their own good.
There are 427 days left to the 2018 elections.
- This article kills fascists
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