If we stop trying to treat Trump like a normal politician maybe we can start getting things done.
What if we have Donald Trump all wrong?
I spent the better part of 2016 railing against Trump. I tried my best to get my Republican Party to make a different choice, (virtually any other choice) to be our standard-bearer, to no avail. I was convinced that Trump would lose to Hillary Clinton and if he didn’t, would destroy the party and do great damage to the country. I was wrong about the first one. The jury is still out on the other two.
I watched as Trump, who had been on both sides of virtually every pillar of GOP orthodoxy (abortion, taxes, immigration, trade, guns, government health care, to name a few) gathered Republicans to his cause which was, in a nutshell “tough enough to beat Hillary.” And to most Republicans, that was all that mattered. Along the way, he attacked and belittled party leaders, members of Congress and fellow presidential candidates and showed no indications that he had any loyalty at all to the Republican Party, but was far more interested in his own personal brand and legacy.
So, I chuckled when House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer announced that they had struck a deal with Trump to extend protections for “Dreamers”: undocumented immigrants who were childhood arrivals to this country, in exchange for a border security package that did not include a “wall.” Republicans across the country were stunned and horrified. The “deal” Trump made was to sign off on the Schumer/Pelosi plan. They were thrilled, he was happy. I have no doubt that if he could have signed a bill right then and there, he would have, before White House adviser Stephen Miller, an immigration hard-liner, and Fox News host Sean Hannity got to him. Never mind that he had supporters who felt betrayed by his willingness to show compassion to the Dreamers. Never mind that the “deal” he cut was with Congressional leaders of the opposing party and did not include the leaders of his own party. Never mind, well, anything. The president had a deal. And that’s what he likes: cutting deals. We don’t know a lot about what Donald Trump actually believes about much of anything. What we do know is that he measures success by action. He wants to be the biggest, the strongest, the toughest, the “winningest” president that America has ever had. He doesn’t talk about principles and doesn’t subscribe to a conservative or liberal philosophy on any kind of consistent basis.
So, what if Congress were to decide to let him have some wins, and in the process got past decades of partisanship and did some good for the America people?
What if, instead of sending millions of people, illegally brought to America by their parents, back to the country of their birth, reasonable Republicans and Democrats came together on a plan to help Dreamers stay in America legally and come out from the shadows while coming together on tough border security measures the president could sell as a “wall”? I promise, there is a bill in there that the president is willing to sign. That would beat spending the next three years arguing with each other over whether we should have a big, beautiful wall on our Southern border and trying to play the Jedi mind trick on Mexico to get them to pay for it.