I’m on a couple of Trump email lists. It helps me keep tabs on which bottle of elixir he’s selling today. There’s been quite a stream from his office over that last couple of days aimed at building opposition to the Schumer Shutdown. His appeal is based on three points: sick children (CHiP) are being held hostage; military pay is being held hostage; all to protect illegal aliens. Putting illegal aliens ahead of children, soldiers, and real Americans is wrong. So writes Trump.
The illegal aliens he has in mind are the “Dreamers,” people brought here as young children, for whom this is the only country they know, and who have proved themselves to be responsible contributors to the well being of society. Moreover, it’s his own party’s leadership that refused multiple opportunities to reauthorize the CHiP program, and to continue military pay during the shutdown. The level of malevolent insincerity coming from him is staggering.
But, and it’s a huge but, manny of my Trump supporting friends buy it without question. Some have no idea what or who the Dreamers are, in spite of all the publicity. Moreover, they firmly believe those illegal aliens don’t pay taxes, are on welfare, and are the primary source of violent crime. They don’t really know that CHiP is, even if they use it, and are horrified that sick children would be held hostage by unpatriotic Democrats. As for the military, how could the Democrats be so callous. Trump says so, they believe it, discussion over.
It works, but is it all from Trump? I’m not sure he’s got the smarts to pull it off as well as it appears to be going. It seems more likely to be engineered by freedom caucus - tea party Republicans, financed by oligarchs, who recognize their golden opportunity to dismantle the social safety net, reduce the federal government to minimal size, establish a laissez faire business environment, and assure white male supremacy over decision making. It’s what his base wants, and, without an ideology of his own, Trump will pander to his base. Curiously, the core of his base seems blind to the path toward demagoguery laid down by their own agenda, nor are they aware, or care, that it would lead to the end of a United States of America. Somehow, to them, it would get the government off their backs, freeing them to be what? Free? I guess.
Aiding them are more affluent citizens and business owners, fully recognizing the incompetency of the administration, but doing quite well financially, who don’t want to rock the boat as long as they’re making money. They’re willing to look the other way. A recent WSJ editorial more or less admitted as much.
What’s needed is responsible leadership for a responsible center-right Republican Party willing to ignore freedom caucus tea partiers, and not easily bought off by super pacs. Obviously that’s not going to be either of the current leaders, so our national political hopes are in the midterms. If the energy of yesterday’s Women’s Marches can be sustained through November to build voter turnout turning red places blue, there is a chance that a Democratic resurgence will cause Republican reform, and that would be good for us all.
It would also knock the salivating plutocratic oligarchs back to 1939, hopefully leaving them there for the rest of eternity.