I don’t want to hype this too much. But if tools like Luis Gutierrez manage to thwart Trump’s attempt to sell out MAGA nation to Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi on amnesty because the deal is only a *near* total victory for Democrats, not a total victory, I … might need to renounce atheism. If the biggest open-borders shills in America are willing to look a gift horse in the mouth from a Republican president who’s putting his populist credibility on the line to try to make them happy, and who isn’t even asking for a major concession like the wall or the RAISE Act in return, even I would be forced to admit that that’s compelling evidence of a divine power at work.
A divine power with an amazing sense of humor.
Imagine being Nancy Pelosi, having just rolled the tough-guy president on a major policy dispute to the ferocious aggravation of a key part of his base, and having to listen to your own caucus whine that it’s not good enough. For fark’s sake:
“This is bullshit,” said Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas). “If what we’re going to do is address DACA, we ought to do that on its own and we ought to address border security on its own.”…
Any legislation that would lead to increased raids or immigration detention beds “are the kind of border security measures I wouldn’t want to support,” Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) told POLITICO…
“Details matter,” said Angel Padilla, policy director of the liberal group Indivisible. “We don’t want to see Dreamers being used as bargaining chips, and that’s kind of what this is.”…
“Paul Ryan said ‘need border security’ and the Democrats parroted him yesterday. Why are we using the same language that Paul Ryan is?” Gutiérrez said. “So what’s going to be next?”
There’s not one complaint but a variety. Some amnesty fans want to make sure the deal legalizes all DREAMers, a larger group than the 700,000 or so who have enrolled in DACA. Others, like Gutierrez, are annoyed that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus wasn’t consulted. It’d be a heavy blow to the CHC’s prestige if they ended up sidelined on a major deal involving one of their core policy concerns. Still others, like Vela, think they’re somehow going to get a DREAM amnesty without so much as a fig leaf of border security for Republicans in the deal. Some in the CHC reportedly want to draw up a list of 10 border-security measures that they won’t agree to as part of it. For Pelosi, that would be a bad note on which to begin negotiations with the White House. Trump’s already agreed to drop his biggest demand, the wall, as part of the bargain and is hearing it from parts of his base. If Democrats start crossing off other lesser security measures before POTUS has even made a concrete “ask,” much of the GOP will conclude that the trade is too one-sided and that Trump should walk.
And Pelosi, a shrewd pol, is keenly aware of it. She reportedly told the grumblers in her caucus at a meeting this week, “Let us embrace our success instead of tinkling all over it, as we have a tendency to do all over ourselves.” They’re a minority party in both houses that’s somehow on the verge of scoring a major win. You don’t present the majority with your list of demands in a case like that. You consider their demands and try to hold them to a bare minimum.
In fact, she could have reminded Gutierrez et al. that not only are Democrats a minority but they’re exceedingly unlikely to take back both houses of Congress in 2018, which makes the urgency for a deal that much greater. If the Senate map looked good for Dems it’d be worth driving a hard bargain on DREAM: Congressional Republicans are likely to demand more than Trump will, so if there’s a probable scenario in the near future where they’ll be back in the minority, it’d be worth it to Pelosi and Schumer to bide their time, wait for that to happen, then deal with Trump as the majority. The Senate map is disastrous for Democrats next year, though; a 50/50 Senate is likely the best achievable outcome. If they try to muscle Trump now, it might mean DREAM goes back in a desk drawer until 2021. That may not be a catastrophe for DACA members since Trump will probably just cave and keep the program going six months from now, but there’s always a chance that Jeff Sessions and Stephen Miller will regain influence with him before then and convince him to follow through on his threat to scrap it. If you’re Pelosi, that’s reason enough to bend a little on border security and get this done asap. Like Tucker Carlson said last night, border security can always be relaxed later when a Democrat’s back in the White House.
Here’s Sarah Huckabee Sanders during today’s White House briefing insisting that legalizing DACA enrollees won’t be amnesty because there’ll be “massive” border security improvements involved. Massive. Exit question: If Democrats are going to oppose a DREAM deal, isn’t the best argument for doing so that a successful deal now all but guarantees no further amnesties for many years to come? The Republican base will tolerate only so much legalization. If your goal is to legalize most of the adult illegal population, not just DREAMers, you should resist splitting off the latter from the former. Make them a package deal or else the larger population is apt to remain in limbo indefinitely.