If your head hurts and the government shutdown over a border wall strikes you as the theatre of the absurd, you are not alone. As much as Trump and his enablers put on straight faces and make serious-sounding arguments, this entire exercise has to do with Trump's political brand, not public policy.
There he goes again. Trump and the Republican Party are so desperate to change the subject from the heinous murder of eleven American Jews in their place of worship and the GOP’s terrible record on healthcare and taxes, the President is calling a group of Central Americans fleeing violence and seeking safety a threat to national security.
As expected, yesterday’s White House celebration of ICE and CBP was an overtly political rally. It neatly captured Trump’s midterm strategy: inject race, immigration and “us vs. them” appeals at every opportunity. The purpose is threefold: 1) to excite white grievance voters in the GOP base; 2) to keep the focus off the terrible Republican record on kitchen table issues; and 3) to distract from the simple fact that the main beneficiaries of the unified Republican control of the federal government has been the super rich, not the average Joe.
This week President Trump will request $6.6 billion to fund an expanded nationwide deportation force, new detention centers, and a massive infrastructure increase at the border; the wall. This is all to implement his mass deportation blueprint. As Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and other Senate Democrats have made clear, taxpayer money should not fund such a cruel, costly, and un-American assault on hard working immigrant families.To pay for his nativist crusade, Trump proposes cuts to the Coast Guard, TSA and FEMA, functions which actually enhance national security.
“Donald Trump started his campaign by calling Mexicans rapists. Tonight, he accepted the Republican nomination by strongly implying that undocumented immigrants are murderers. “Trump's fearmongering, of course, is unmoored from the real facts. But that's not his point. He stokes fear of immigrants as a core part of his larger storyline that America is under siege from scary people of color and only a strongman like him can protect you (read: white people). His strategies, once consigned to the fringes of the white nationalist movement and unpopular with the American people, would rip apart families and communities, constitute one of the darkest chapters in American history and put at risk the American experiment.