One of the more ridiculous (and creepy) aspects of Trump’s election has been a portion of his base which can talk themselves into literally anything. Every time reality smacks them in their face, they rationalize it by asserting that Trump is actually manipulating the situation somehow.
This is how we got the many “156th dimensional chess” jokes that have graced us the past year. It’s also how we got the assertion that Trump could literally shoot someone on 5th avenue and not lose his base. To a fraction of his supporters, that’s probably true.
None of this is to say that Trump hasn’t done some good things. I’ve often been accused of being a “Trumper” because I like his general direction policy wise (and I think the collusion stuff is mostly pointless crap, which is a big no no apparently). I think most Republicans fall into that category.
They wish Trump would stop tweeting, they hate his character flaws, they don’t think he’s a “genius,” and they think he’s his own worst enemy, but they prefer the past year’s workings over what we would of gotten with a Hillary presidency. That is contrasted with some Trump supporters who can’t ever be bothered to admit his flaws and always want to convince themselves he’s not betraying them.
On no topic is this contrast seen more than on immigration.
After the President’s immigration powwow this week (trigger warning?), I think many saw it for what it was. Him exposing his weakness on an issue he never intended to follow through on.
But then there were some who immediately fell into the old delusion that Trump is actually “playing” Democrats. He’s just “negotiating.” He was “exposing” the liberal view on amnesty.
There’s no better place to find this point of view than Breitbart:
President Donald Trump’s riveting spectacle of televised bipartisanship exposed the Democrats’ political weakness in the amnesty debate — and also revealed remarkable GOP unity on the goal of ending the nation’s chain-migration system.
Time after time, Democrats pleaded for a quick passage of unpopular ‘dreamer’ amnesty while also promising a later-meaning-never debate over popular immigration reforms, such as the elimination of the visa-lottery and the chain-migration system, which doubles the annual inflow of legal immigrants.
Time after time, in contrast, GOP leaders wrapped themselves in sympathy for the 670,000 DACA illegals while insisting that Congress must implement Trump’s popular policies by ending the huge visa-lottery and chain-migration programs which are slowly but steadily freezing Americans’ wages while turning Republican states blue.
A key moment came when Trump invited GOP Majority leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy to shut down the Democrats’ demand for a quick amnesty by touting the president’s immigration priorities as a must-do item.
Yeah, that’s not what happened.
In fact, when asked about it, Trump agreed with Sen. Feinstein on giving her a clean DACA bill. McCarthy was not “invited” to shut down anything. He interjected, uninvited, in order to try to save the President from himself, i.e. committing to a clean DACA bill with no stipulations on border security.
Pro-tip: If you are looking to negotiate or expose someone, you don’t tell them to come up with whatever they want and that you’ll sign it regardless.
That’s exactly what the President did.
The Breitbart article goes on to tout Trump’s supposed leadership on making chain migration an issue. I oppose chain migration, but from a policy standpoint, that’s quite a moving of the goalposts. Trump wasn’t elected to just get a compromise on chain migration while handing Congress a signature on a big amnesty bill.
What Trump is doing here is folding. Period.
Many of us saw through the immigration tripe he peddled on the stump. We supported Cruz or Rubio over Trump in the face of many Republican outlets and voters screaming “but you gotta support Trump because immigration!” We weren’t obsessed with the issue even though we agreed it was a problem. We knew Trump was not going to deport 11 million people. We knew there was going to be no big beautiful wall with a big beautiful door.
Where some made it their singular issue and flocked the Trump, many of us warned that he simply could not accomplish much of what he was saying on immigration. There were few things more frustrating during the primary than Trump supporters who insisted only he was tough on immigration, even as they accused Rubio and Cruz of being “open borders” shills.
Well, who’s the shill now?
To see it come full circle isn’t surprising. Trump has indeed followed through on many of the things most thought he wouldn’t. Good for him and his Presidency has indeed not be the disaster some predicted.
In the case of immigration though, it’s time to call a spade a spade.
The cracks in the armor were actually apparent in 2016, as he was on tape waffling on the issue a few times. It got worse when he ended DACA but assured everyone he would take care of it when the time came. At that point, it was clear a grand bargain on DACA was coming.
His most ardent supporters kept convincing themselves he was just “playing” the Democrats. That’s clearly not happening now.
To their credit, some are calling out the slippage of the mask.
Tucker Carlson lit into the President last night on his show.
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) January 10, 2018
Ann Coulter also went on Lou Dobbs’ show and had one of the more entertaining interviews on the topic. To say she’s pissed is probably an understatement (video).
But then there’s Sean Hannity, who used the occasion to accuse Democrats of flip-flopping…because of course he did:
Trump let you down bro. Embrace it.
There’s no 1295th dimensional chess going on here. Trump literally told Democrats and pro-amnesty Republicans to go get him a bill, that he’d sign anything they come up with, and that he’d even take the heat from conservatives who complain.
When you’ve got Lindsey Graham on one side and Dick Durbin on the other negotiating, it means one thing. Amnesty is coming, and don’t kid yourself that Democrats will end chain migration as a compromise. It’s not going to happen.
What is about to happen is Republicans and Trump getting rolled on the issue. They’ll throw in a little cash toward the ever nebulous “border security” and that’ll be it.
If you are still under any illusions about the President’s immigration cred, wake up and smell the coffee that was picked by some illegal he’s about to legalize. It’s you that got played on this issue.
I’ll leave you with this hilarious flip-flop by Joe Arpaio, proving that nothing truly matters anymore.
Joe Arpaio suggests to CNN he would back DACA compromise: “if I was a senator now, and the president really wanted this, I probably would back him up on it, because I do respect his judgment”
— Kristen Holmes (@KristenhCNN) January 10, 2018