If Trump-voting Americans have one major complaint against President Donald Trump, it is that he campaigned heavily on The Wall and has failed to deliver. He delivered tax cuts, he is reforming immigration, and has managed to get through the bulk of his campaign promises – but building a strong border wall has not so far gotten off the ground.
For a president who seems to get what he wants, why is it that this particular issue is causing so many problems? Is it possible that Trump has been holding off on the wall in order to further secure his position?
The Long Game
Predicting Trump’s historic victory was supposed to be a fool’s path. While pundits and voters may have hoped for a win, the supposed “smart money” was always on Hillary Clinton; this has left the president in a precarious position for the upcoming midterms. The leftist media is still pushing the narrative that this is a “blip,” a mistake that they and their followers can begin rectifying come the midterm elections in November.
Historically, the midterm advantage goes to the opposition party when the sitting president has low support numbers among those who didn’t vote for him. This is something Donald Trump – a man used to figuring out how to get an edge – knows very well.
Has The Donald been biding his time on getting the wall through, in order to use it for political capital?
Since the days of Harry Truman, most presidential approval ratings have dropped over time; the exceptions were George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and, surprisingly, Bill Clinton.
Reagan suffered a major drop in the run-up to his first midterms and only started bouncing back when the Republicans maintained control of the Senate, despite Democrats increasing their House majority.
Clinton, who kept a steady popularity rating throughout his presidency fell victim to what Newt Gingrich called the Republican Revolution when the GOP won a net gain of 54 seats in the House and picked up eight in the Senate.
George H.W. Bush also experienced a loss during his midterms, eight and one seats in the House and Senate respectively.
What this shows is that even popular presidents often take a beating during the midterms. But with low popularity ratings among the opposition, the danger is more imminent.
What President Trump needs to stave off a midterm defeat is a victory right before the American people go to the polls, and it needs to be one that not only enlivens his own party (he already has an 88% approval rating there) but also shows the Democrats as weak. What could be better than a “big, beautiful wall” to show off to the voting public?
Congress has a September 30 deadline to get spending measures approved. Trump has made it abundantly clear that if real spending for the wall is not approved, he will shut down the government. In a tweet that had his fanbase cheering, he wrote:
“I would be willing to ‘shut down’ government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall! Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT! We need great people coming into our Country!”
If he doesn’t get what he wants, this threat could be all too real.
Most people assume that after the first flush of victory, a president’s power decreases as the reality of actual governance sets in. If Trump can get funding for the wall through before the voters go to the polls, he will assure himself, and his party, victory.
His core base of voters will be enthused, campaigners will hit the streets and the phones with renewed vigor, and Republicans will ride this wave to the top.
But most importantly, it will create apathy in Democrat voters. If, after two years of The Resistance, the opposition appears weaker than ever, voter turnout will be low, and the much-vaunted Blue Wave will likely not reach the shoreline.
All this takes is to frame the argument… and Trump has already begun.
These midterms are becoming mini-referenda on a host of issues. From ICE to the police, and from illegal immigration to enforcing borders, Donald Trump’s posturing on each side of these issues is forcing the Democrats to take a far harder stance than they wanted.
Instead of just calling for ICE to limit their activities to those for whom a retainer has been issued, the left is now calling for the abolition of the entire organization. Trump has successfully tied the existence of ICE to 9/11, and the Democrats are opposing this without realizing that the public now sees them as soft on terrorism.
Make no mistake, The Wall is coming. As the left flounder in the backwash of their failed Wave, they will understand that they have been played from the very beginning by a master tactician who was thinking of his second term before they even figured out he was a threat.