How President Trump Can Overcome "The Wall" By Luke Perry

How President Trump Can Overcome "The Wall" By Luke Perry

Donald Trump has no great options in his ceaseless efforts to secure $5.7 billion in federal funding for a wall at the Southern border. His unfulfilled campaign promises have created policy and political problems, culminating in the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

The president initially took responsibility for the shutdown, then consistently blamed Democrats. Polls showed that most Americans blamed the president, while a plurality opposed funding his proposed wall.

Photo by Jabin Botsford/Getty

Photo by Jabin Botsford/Getty

Failure to deliver could hurt him with his core supporters. Trump’s overall popularity recently fell to new lows, though support among Republicans was relatively unchanged compared to last fall.

Parts of the GOP are pulling the president in opposite directions. Not delivering engendered criticism from conservative pundits, while a handful of GOP Senators supported reopening the government without wall funding.

Trump may be best served politically if bipartisan immigration negotiations fail, but a spending agreement is reached, and he declares a national emergency. Trump has already expressed skepticism an immigration compromise will materialize and willingness to declare an emergency on the Southern border.  

Most Americans oppose this approach, including some GOP Senators, for several reasons, and a legal dispute would undoubtedly ensue. This would not be good policy or good for U.S. democracy, but could provide the president political cover, by enabling him to claim decisive action, and blaming the courts for whatever constitutional restraints are triggered.

The president’s immigration travel ban provides a relevant comparison. The ban was initially struck down, a ruling Trump rallied against, then later upheld by the Supreme Court. The controversy has since receded from public attention.

Of course, no one can predict what will happen next. If no border security deal is reached, a national emergency may be the best exit strategy for the president. And President Trump has proven eagerness to engage in this type of legal and political fight.



Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry) is Chair and Professor of Government at Utica College 



 

 

 

 

 

 

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