Tuesday, June 19, 2018
The border crisis is really heating up and is quickly turning into the signature issue of this election year. For its part, the Trump administration is doubling down on its heinous policy, although you get a broad interpretation of events from its various faces. The most blunt was Hitler Youth poster boy Stephen Miller's statement, "it was a simple decision." Others either deny there is anything inhumane about the separations taking place, or try to pin the blame on the Democrats, as Trump is doing himself.
In the "alt news media world," pundits dismiss the cages as walls out of chain link fences, Democrats are using child actors, and that the whole thing is a "manufactured crisis," while they defend Trump's
horrible immigration policy.
On the campaign trail, Trump's surrogates double down on this "zero-tolerance" approach, like Rep. Lou Barletta, who is now running for the US Senate. He seems to forget that Senate elections are statewide, not regional, and that he has a lot more people to convince than his conservative 11th district. He's running against popular Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, who currently enjoys an RCP average 16.5 percentage lead in the race. It's doubtful his statement will make a dent in that gap.
It's not just Democrats who are lashing out at this atrocious decision by the Trump administration, but conservative religious stalwarts like Franklin Graham, former First Lady Laura Bush, and even Trump's own wife, Melania. Graham called the policy "disgraceful." Laura Bush likened it to the Japanese internment camps during WWII, and Melania said it is just plain wrong, being an immigrant herself.
Several Democratic male leaders used Father's Day to make their protests seen, partly in response to the callous tweet by Ivanka honoring her father and husband on Sunday, but also noting that no parent should accept what is going on along the US border.
Women are making the biggest gains in elections across the country, scoring victories in special elections and taking their party's nominations in primaries. Democratic women have been the most successful, but you see the occasional Trump woman surrogate defending his noxious views. It's not clear cut how women will vote this Fall, but safe to say very few women can accept seeing children separated from their mothers.
For once, the press is really grilling Trump, Huckabee and Nielsen on the separations, holding them accountable for their steady stream of lies. You can see the strain on Aunt Sarah's and Aunt Kirstjen's faces as they try to justify Commander Donald's policies. It's playing out like a scene from The Handmaid's Tale before our eyes. You just wonder how long before their faces crack.
The Democrats can't afford to let up the pressure or give in on a compromise immigration bill that would provide Trump funding for his wall, which seems to be what he is after. His efforts to use Dreamers as bargaining chips has been stymied by federal courts, so now he takes his aim on the recent wave of refugees. Any compromise would be viewed as a sell out at this point, which is why Democrats have to make sure Chuck and Nancy don't cave.
Unlike 2016 when Trump was successfully able to use immigration as a rallying tool for conservatives, it has mobilized Democrats across the country this election year and appears to be turning Independents and Moderate Republicans as well. This doesn't bode well for the GOP, as Trump surrogates scored well in the primaries but will have a very tough time generating broad support in the general election in November.
Trump has thrown his support behind his loyalists like Corey Stewart of Virginia, who is this year's Roy Jones. Virginia Republicans are deeply worried Stewart will drag down the entire party in the state, as he resurrects all the issues that have divided Virginians and led to a huge turnover in the State Assembly. But, Trump is either oblivious to the shifting political tides or simply doesn't care.
To a certain degree we have become inured to the crossover of politics into popular television. Most reporters now see the Trump administration as a reality show presidency, and treat it accordingly. However, by making it funny or lashing out at it as various comedians have done, they only help popularize his presidency. What had been lacking was a sobering view of the consequences of Trump's policies, and we are now seeing it play out in real time along the US-Mexico border.
He can try to run from it, but it shouldn't work this time around. He's been in office nearly 18 months. Any effort to pin these policies on Obama or the Democrats, who lost any control they had in Congress in 2014, should fall on deaf ears. The news media, which he has openly vilified throughout this time, should not give an inch. This is their moment.