When you want to move the goal post in politics, the first thing you do is start to play with language. When Tony Blair and George Bush could not sell their war with Iraq on the basis of the non-existent threat Saddam Hussein posed, they started to change their language. Saddam was no longer a grave threat to Western civilization because of the Weapons of Mass Destruction he didn't have -- he was now a grave threat 'to his own people'. The war became a humanitarian mission ('Operation Iraqi Freedom') instead of a war to protect the West.
In the era of Donald Trump, where truth and reality cease to really mean anything, language has become more pliable than ever. Crowd sizes can be invented, countries made up, and women's genitals can be grabbed without consequence. If you say something happened and I say it didn't, then who can really say what is true? Even audio recordings with clearly audible dialogue can be changed.
"Don't believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news," Donald Trump told his supporters at a convention in Kansas. "What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening."
In this deeply weird paradigm, physical things don't need to even exist -- like border walls. Trump invested heavily in his vision of a huge, concrete wall that would stop the hordes of filthy immigrants invading white America. He campaigned on it relentlessly, and promised his supporters he would do whatever it took to ensure the US wasted a gargantuan amount of money on something that could never work.
Now, it appears Trump won't get his wall. His own party doesn't want it, and the Democrats now control the House and won't give him the money for it. While Trump is holding the entire country to ransom over the issue by shutting down the federal government, it is a battle he cannot win. He doesn't have the political leverage, and the GOP and those around him understand this very well.
So what can be done about this? Thankfully for Trump and the Republican party, they can now pretend the wall was never supposed to be a wall in the first place. According to former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Trump gave up on “a solid concrete wall early on in the administration.”
According to Kellyanne Conway, the wall is actually going to be some "steel slats" and some "technological enhancements" along the border.
"I can't tell you when the government's going to be open," Trump told reporters last week. "I can tell you it's not going to be open until we have a wall or fence, whatever they'd like to call it. I'll call it whatever they want, but it's all the same thing."
Lindsey Graham, Trump's new best friend, took it one step further. After having lunch with Trump this past weekend, the Senator from South Carolina declared that, “the wall has become a metaphor for border security.”
Steel slats, technological enhancements, a fence, and now just a "metaphor", Trump's giant concrete border wall hasn't just morphed over time, it has completely disintegrated.
"I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words," said the Great Leader in 2015.
We're about to enter 2019, and the only people willing to pay for Trump's idiotic wall are his own supporters. Thus far, they've raised under 2% of their stated goal ($1 billion), which is 20% of the money Trump says he needs for the wall.
The Democrats then, can negotiate with this in mind. They can offer Trump no money for a giant concrete wall that doesn't actually exist. They could call it a "Meta-Wall" and pretend it is bigger and better than anything Trump originally envisioned. Trump can then declare victory, and the government can re-open for the New Year. This might sound like a crazy idea, but then let's remember who is residing in the White House.