Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Are you ready to rumble?
Maybe rescinding DACA is just a means to draw Obama out of retirement. Trump badly needs a bogeyman to rally his base behind him, and who better than the man they all love to hate -- Barack Obama!
The former president had laid down the gauntlet during the transition period, urging the incoming president not to touch DACA. Here we are 7 months into Trump's term and he does exactly that, using Jeff Sessions and the "rule of law" to drive a dagger into the heart of Obama's signature immigration reform measure.
Not sure what sort of demons this will unleash. Senators in a rare show of solidarity have vowed to go back to immigration reform. The only problem is getting such a bill through the House. Boehner refused to even put the 2013 bill on the floor, saying he required a majority of Republicans to do so. The RNC turned immigration into an effective campaign issue in the 2014 midterms, winning full Republican control of Congress. There was no action on DACA or any other kind of immigration reform over the next two years because the people had spoken.
Trump thinks he still has the conservative vox populi behind him, and can use it to bludgeon any wayward Republicans in 2018 primaries. What he needed was the face of DACA -- Barack Obama -- to drive this campaign home. Obama couldn't help but respond. Democrats have been waiting for him to stand up to Trump as no one else in the party has to this point. Whether it will be enough to bring out Democrats in the midterms remains to be seen.
It couldn't have been scripted any better. Trump may indeed be shrewder than I gave him credit for. Using children as the bait is a classic Hollywood trope. Kind of like Spielberg and Donner's "Goonies" writ large, with 800,000 "Dreamers" trying to keep their home in America. This is the way Trump thinks. He knows how to use cheesy melodrama to his advantage.
I'm not sure what he hopes to gain from all this other than the full devotion of his Trumpkins. I don't think holding the Dreamers hostage is going to play well among the broader electorate in 2018, but then he proved very effective at dividing the electorate in 2016, so who is to say?
Congress has to step into the breach and protect DACA, as they talked about doing back in January. It wasn't just Obama who voiced his worries at the time, but Republicans dragged their heels so here we are now with the fate of these "Dreamers" on the line. Congress has until March, 2018, to act before these kids' work permits start to expire.
You can see not only Jeff Sessions grinning ear to ear, but Trump as well, as this will push Russiagate and every other unsavory scandal surrounding Trump to the edges, as all the media will talk about for the next several weeks is the Dreamers.
Of course, there is the chance Hurricane Irma may drown out any talk of the Dreamers if it makes landfall in Florida in the next week. Nothing the media loves more than showing heroism in the face of nature's fury. But, Trump will be forced to make an appearance, something that he doesn't seem to relish although his famed Mar-a-Lago may be in the path of this hurricane, so he finally has something at stake. I hope he updated his flood insurance.
I don't think DACA is going away. It has been a contentious issue for the past 5 years, with conservative states threatening law suits against it if Trump didn't act. Now states vow to mount law suits in defense of it because Trump has acted. He thinks he can win this battle if he has Obama to go up against. Hillary was just a surrogate, now he can go mano-a-mano with The Champ.