Calling Il Trumpe’s Bluff

Regarding the possibility of another government shutdown, we’ll outsource this to BooMan (boldface mine):

As for the Dreamers, as much as I’m concerned for them, it’s not a good idea to pay a ransom for them. Trump has set this up as a way to fundamentally alter our entire immigration system in a very unfair and racist way, and that’s not a trade worth making for hostages that the GOP does not want to deport en masse while television cameras capture the indefensibly sad and outrageous stories. A bluff must be called here. I hate to say it, but it’s the right thing to do in these circumstances.

So, if that means a shut down, that’s fine with me. And if that means the DACA protections lapse, that’s a price the Democrats have to be willing to pay. It’s right on the politics and it’s right on the merits. We have a legal immigration program that’s under assault and it can’t be reformed the way that Stephen Miller wants to reform it.

I also object strenuously to the idea of spending tens of billions of dollars on a stupid wall that will be a symbol of racism visible from space running along our southern border. This should not be done just to help Trump save face. It would be a blot on the country and a stain on the record of everyone who votes to fund it.

The offer to Trump should be sensible border protection and enforcement investments rather than unrealistic boondoggles. He’s tying to play the bully here but he doesn’t have the cards to win this hand.

Rather than asking what Trump needs to rescue the DACA recipients, the Dems should be demanding funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau before they’ll even consider funding anything else.

Two things to add. First, while the talking heads’ emphasis is on the Dreamers (DACA), the truly egregious case are the children of TPS recipients. Many of these kids were born here, making them U.S. citizens. Removing them from the only home they have ever known isn’t deportation, it’s expulsion. Though I suppose the alternative is for these kids to become wards of the state and enter our excellent foster care system. Second, Democrats should throw meaningful sanctions enforcement into the mix. If nothing else, it would make one hell of a bargaining chip.

Also, Democrats need to stop being so damn afraid of… everything (boldface mine):

I’m not personally wedded to our current levels of legal immigration. The numbers are fairly arbitrary, after all, and if a modest reduction in green card quotas—or a reallocation of some kind—is what it takes to buy peace, I’d probably support it. At the same time, what incentive do Democrats have to make any kind of bargain at all? Even among Republicans, nearly half are satisfied with current immigration levels. The wall is basically a nativist wet dream. And support for Dreamers is overwhelming across the board.

Their best strategy is probably to set some reasonable terms publicly and then walk away from the table. The political price would be minimal, or maybe even positive. And what happens next? If Republicans allow DACA to expire and Donald Trump starts deporting Dreamers, it will be a nightmare. Republicans will be desperate for a deal at that point. They’re talking tough right now, but that’s mostly just cover for a widespread fear of what happens to them if Dreamers start getting shipped off to Mexico on their watch.

Here’s the problem for Democrats: taking this position will almost certainly cause some human misery. Republicans won’t fold easily, and in the meantime Dreamers will indeed get deported to a country they’ve never lived in. But liberals don’t like human misery, and Republicans hold them hostage to this sense of basic decency all the time. It happened with CHIP. It happened with the shutdown. And it’s happening now with DACA. Democrats fold because they actually care about the pain that their actions might cause.

Republicans are well aware of this, so they perversely have an incentive to deliberately provoke human misery as a bargaining tool against Democrats. This is the kind of tough-guy politics that makes me ill, but maybe it’s time for Democrats to stop providing this incentive.

Yes, it is.

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3 Responses to Calling Il Trumpe’s Bluff

  1. This is the first sensible statement and courageous statement I have seen over this whole mess.

  2. John Magoun says:

    I have to agree with you and Cicely that this is straightforward and sensible advice for the Democrats on these issues. Thanks for the post.

  3. Rick Cooley says:

    Reblogged this on Rcooley123's Blog and commented:
    Reblog of a post by Mike the Mad Biologist on what Congressional Democrats should be willing to concede in order to avoid another government shutdown come Friday. Makes sense to me (otherwise it wouldn’t make sense for me to post it, right?).

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