If Democrats thought that digging their heels in and going to war with President Trump over the wall was sure to be a political winner, they might have reason to doubt that position after a new poll from ABC News and the Washington Post.
While the poll indicates that more Americans blame Republicans and Trump for the shutdown than they do Democrats (the angle with which every mainstream story about the poll was written, natch), there is a kernel of very bad news for the left. Turns out that with funding for the wall being the only sticking point in the spending bill, Trump’s signature campaign promise is actually more popular than ever.
42% of Americans now support the president’s plan to build a wall across the U.S.-Mexico border. That’s up eight points from this time last year, a sure sign that marching caravans, overflowing border detention facilities, and the shutdown itself has caused people to rethink the importance of a physical barrier.
Granted: As it stands right now, the majority of poll respondents – 54% – still oppose the building of a wall.
But the momentum is clearly on Trump’s side, and that is in itself an amazing fact given that every single piece of media coverage has slandered the president’s plan as immoral, ineffective, and prohibitively expensive. Can you imagine where the poll numbers would be if the media simply treated this from the neutral, objective perspective they are supposed to employ? That the numbers are this high in the absence of any such perspective is a phenomenal statement about where Americans really are in relation to border security. And that’s not good for Democrats standing off with Trump, particularly those Democrats who are planning to run in 2020 on an “Abolish ICE” message.
Democrats would have an outside chance of winning the messaging war if they concentrated on selling the public on technological alternatives to the wall. That would deprive Trump of his campaign promise while still assuring the public that they believe in securing the border.
Unfortunately, they cannot fully embrace this message while retaining their rabid, frothing, open-borders base of voters. So they are being forced to occupy this no-man’s-land where they pay lip service to the importance of border security while also talking about how our country owes allegiance to suffering women and children from Central America. At the end of the day, it’s just a muddled “We don’t like Trump” message that inspires few.
Immigration experts who are true to their convictions cannot deny that we need a wall (in addition to technological surveillance). Most politicians in the Democratic Party leadership are on record admitting that we need a wall (or fencing, or whatever you want to call it). There really is no contingent – outside of the loons – that believes things are just fine as they are. It’s a purely political position meant to block Trump from securing his promise to the voters, and that’s all. The Democrats have put the 2020 election ahead of national security, an unacceptable and dangerous position. And if Trump calls them on that point, again and again, he might just come out of this shutdown with the biggest victory of his presidency.