Trump’s Wall Is Our Wall

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The essence of leadership is picking the right fights, and on the Border Wall, President Donald Trump has hit bullseye.

The unwillingness of Democrats in Congress – and a fair number of Republicans – to approve a drop in the bucket of the federal budget to build a permanent barrier along much of our southern border with Mexico shows you where their priorities are.

Democrats see future voters and dependents on the welfare state. A significant number of Republicans see cheap labor for their corporate donors and fear false claims of racism so much that they’ll twist themselves into a hernia to try to avoid them.

Securing our border from drugs and illegal aliens is not controversial in America. Even Democrats talk about so-called “border security.” They’re just unwilling to do much about it.

The current partial shutdown of federal government functions is ugly, not so much for the government services we are going without but because of the missing paychecks that many innocent federal employees need. For those furloughed, spending time out of work without getting paid, it’s a time of uncertainty. Worse off are the so-called essential personnel, like federal agents and air traffic controllers, who are being forced to work without getting paid for it.

Yet that’s how important the border wall is. President Trump knows that this is his last best chance to get a wall, because without leverage of some sort – even of a mutually-assured-destruction kind – nothing will happen. The sure way to know that is the first two years of the Trump presidency:  Nothing has happened. (Even when he had small Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress.)

At stake are his prospects for re-election, since the wall was such a central feature in his platform in 2016. But more important than that:  If the wall doesn’t get built now, it likely will never get built – and we may never regain control over our border.

Democrats see it all too clearly, too. A President Trump who has kept his core promises to his base and has implemented tax cuts and overseen economic growth would be the odds-on favorite to win in 2020. If Trump’s base is compromised because they don’t believe in him anymore, there’s little chance he can win in 2020.

That, more than anything else, is why Democrats are opposing $5.7 billion for the wall. They hate Trump so much they are unwilling even to grab one of their stated policy goals – legalizing illegal immigrants brought to the United States as minors, which is a bargaining chip for Republicans – if it means giving Trump a victory.

Last night Chuck Schumer (D-New York), the U.S. Senate minority leader and reigning crown prince of disingenuousness, claimed it’s “an obvious solution” to “separate the shutdown from the arguments over border security,” which he said would “re-open government while allowing debate over border security to continue.”

What’s obvious is that if the government re-opens without a deal, not only will there never be a wall – there won’t even be “debate over border security.” Democrats will just declare victory and plow ahead with new policy goals.

It’s essential for supporters of border security to stick with the president. If the situation appears difficult now, it’s about to get worse. Democratic leaders are unlikely to compromise anytime soon, and the mainstream media will continue to apply pressure to Trump without applying any pressure to Democrats.

If Trump backs down, much of what he achieved with the 2016 victory will be lost. But if enough conservatives stick with Trump, he can maintain an override-proof majority in Congress, which will allow him to stay the course.

One of the sad byproducts of the delay in the border wall is that it is delaying an honest appraisal of our immigration policy, which is sorely needed.

Once the border is secure, we can finally have a detailed and honest discussion about what legal immigration to our country should look like – how many, who, where from, under what circumstances. This could be an interesting and fruitful discussion – an actual debate where all sides may have something meaningful and effective to contribute.

But we can’t have that discussion until we have reestablished our national sovereignty over our southern border.