Missteps And Misstatements

Alan Zendell, July 19, 2018

I admit that I’ve been spoiled most of my life. I’ve had wonderful role models as my heroes, and with the exception of Harry Truman and Winston Churchill, none of them were politicians. They were my teachers, those special few who took the trouble to really recognize who I was, and they were scientists and writers. It’s quite a shock to my senses to have a president who is so inarticulate he can’t complete an English sentence unless it’s written down for him.

He is so directionless, his thoughts are scattered and contradictory, and he turns those unfiltered thoughts into words, without the benefit of forethought. He does it in every interview, speech, and press conference, and he did it most notably in Helsinki.

I can’t decide which is worse, being unable to confront Vladimir Putin on a world stage during a meeting he desperately sought, or expecting us to believe that he misspoke when he said he couldn’t think of any reason why Russia would hack our elections. And if he really did misspeak, how does the President of the United States make such an error live on worldwide television? Was his mouth moving with no connection to the cognitive part of his brain?

Even worse than the president’s abysmal performance is the White House Staff’s lame attempt at spin control. They apparently accomplished their goal of pacifying their base, as 68% of Republicans say they believe the president’s tortured explanations. As long as Trump didn’t lose his base, it simply doesn’t matter whether the rest of the world reels with laughter or shock at the spectacle of an American president bombing before the world. That may be the worst take-away from the Putin-Trump summit.

If we believe the media, including such conservative voices as The Wall Street Journal, Democrats and Republicans in Congress are somewhere between disappointed and furious at the way the president behaved in Europe. Prominent Republicans have been privately expressing their concerns, but confidential whispers in corridors won’t change anything.

After every Trump misstep we wonder if the most recent one will finally be enough to make those same people speak out in meaningful ways. We ask if our congressional representatives who are afraid that he will behave erratically or overstep his authority in ways that tangibly harm the country will finally take action to stop him. Congress has both the power and responsibility to pass legislation to limit the actions he can take. They can’t muzzle him, but they can greatly reduce the damage he does.

We’ve learned not to be too optimistic on that front, but the Congress at least seems inclined to use its voice (the non-binding resolution voice) to try to heal the wounds Trump has caused. They are contemplating a sense-of-the-Congress resolution that will reassure NATO that the United States can be relied upon to honor Article 5, which requires all member states to come to the aid on any member who is attacked. That would be the Congress begging Europe to disregard everything the president has said on the subject.

That would be a welcome first step, but at this moment, we don’t even know if, even bolstered by the strength of numbers, they will be willing to take it. Repudiating the president in this manner risks alienating his base, and would likely accomplish nothing here at home. It certainly won’t make Trump change his mind. The real test will be whether Congress can take any action with teeth. Can they behave in a bi-partisan way for the good of the country? Will those Republicans who badmouth Trump when the cameras aren’t rolling put integrity before politics?

If they can’t or won’t, they will simply enable him to grab as much power as he can and ignore the Constitution as long as he’s not stopped. His history is one of charging head on and bullying his way through all opposition until someone is willing to stand up to him. Financial analysts always warn that past performance is no guarantee of future success, but there’s never been a safer bet than assuming Trump’s behavior in the future will mirror what he’s always done in the past.

The rest of the world is watching, shocked at the spectacle of the most powerful nation in the world, the one they’ve always depended on to maintain international economic stability and military balance unravels before their eyes. The German Foreign Minister said, after Helsinki, that Europe can no longer count on the United States.

If the damage is to be repaired before it worsens, it will be up to the Congress. They have the power to reign Trump in and restore order in our relationships with our allies. That’s true today and it will be even truer after the November elections.

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A Sad, Embarrassing Wreck of a Man

Alan Zendell, July 18, 2018

We’ve all had two days to absorb the Helsinki press conference in which Russian President Putin smirked and our president misread the expression as a friendly smile. No doubt we’ve all formed our opinions about it, and heard the denunciations of President Trump’s apparent inability to accept the findings of his own security people. We all saw him bend over backwards to praise his Russian counterpart – it’s a wonder he didn’t rupture his spine. After the abuse he heaped on NATO and our closest allies, what was the world to think about his infatuation with the man who is potentially America’s most dangerous adversary?

It was no surprise to most Americans that master manipulator Putin was able to run circles around Trump, much the way a scheming, manipulative seductress can hold an infatuated male in complete thrall. What does it say about our president that his need for approval from dictators and autocrats continually overwhelms his judgment? He seems almost rapturous when Putin is near.

The critical takeaways from Helsinki haven’t been realized yet. The essential question is whether the Republican leadership has seen enough, or if not, how much it will take for integrity to win out over self-interest. They’re in a tough spot. There’s a Congressional election coming up in just over a hundred days, and Trump’s base of support appears to dominate the Republican Party.

There was a time in America when people in power put the country over party loyalty and their own political futures. In 1973 a corrupt, dysfunctional president (Richard Nixon, if you’re too young to remember) created a constitutional crisis that would have torn the nation, already badly divided over Vietnam, completely apart. Disaster was averted when Attorney General Eliot Richardson and his Deputy William Ruckelshaus resigned. Think of it! Two politicians at the very pinnacles of their careers quit in protest with no assurance that they weren’t destroying their futures.

Paul Ryan has already announced that he’s leaving the Congress and Mitch McConnell isn’t running for re-election in November, and yet neither of them has been willing to speak out forcefully against the actions of this president, though neither has any use for him. Clearly, their priority is assuring a voting majority in the House and Senate after November, when it should be assuring the health and security of the nation.

The primaries are over and the candidates have been chosen. Each of them will have the same choice ahead of them in the coming months. Will they do their jobs as prescribed by the Constitution or will they permit a dangerous. erratic president to rule as an autocrat? Trump governs by threat and intimidation, and this election may well turn on who shows a willingness to stand up to him regardless of party dictates.

Distinguished Conservative commentator George Will may have said it best today: “Trump has a weak man’s banal fascination with strong men whose disdain for him is evidently unimaginable to him.” I said much the same thing last week in The Evolution of Trump, if not as eloquently. Richard Clarke who worked as Counter-terrorism chief and National Security advisor to presidents Reagan, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton said on PBS last night that the fascination referred to by Will has essentially turned Trump into a “controlled asset” of the Russians who feels compelled to act the way Putin wants him to.

That speaks volumes about our President. He’s like every other bully who acts tough until he meets someone who possesses the strength he wishes he had himself. In fact, Trump is the opposite of the man he worships, and once again Will said it much better than I could have when he described him as “This sad, embarrassing wreck of a man.”
It’s almost too much to contemplate – our president is an ego-driven man with an unquenchable lust for power who at his core simply melts when he encounters real strength. We saw it with Chinese President Xi, with North Korean dictator Kim, and we’ve seen and heard it since the day Trump announced he was running for president with Putin.

Not for the first time, Will also raised the question of when the Republican leadership would finally decide enough was enough. He characterized them as possessing “the peculiar strength that comes from being incapable of embarrassment.”

Maybe that should be our litmus test in evaluating candidates this year. Don’t vote for anyone until you know what it takes to make him or her blush.

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Trump’s Vision of a Greater America

Alan Zendell, July 15, 2018
Donald Trump famously began his presidential campaign with his signature slogan, “Make America Great Again” combined with a virulent attack against Muslim immigrants. When he went on to attack Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals, he was accused of being a racist. But while the connection in Trump’s mind between making America great and immigration was obvious, most of us didn’t grasp the broader implications then.

I suggested early on that Trump was not a racist, but was in fact something worse: a panderer who was willing to appeal to racists, white supremacists, and other assorted Despicables to win their votes. I wasn’t wrong in that assessment, but I too missed the point, and it’s taken until now to finally begin to grasp it.

Trump’s administration has been marked by a soaring stock market, a tax law that significantly enriched the already wealthy while throwing a small bone to the middle class and working people, and a couple of intensely fought attempts to reduce health care options for people who depend on help from state, local, or federal government programs. There has been a constant and loud appeal to seal our southern border and to assure that America will no longer be a haven for refugees and asylum seekers.

I hear that our military has been strengthened, but I cannot identify what that means specifically. And at the same time that we’re allegedly strengthening our strategic ability to defend ourselves, our administration has relentlessly attacked our allies and weakened our treaty commitments. We have withdrawn from international attempts to achieve barrier-free trade and protect our environment, and the political rhetoric out of Washington sounds more isolationist than it has in a hundred years.

That sounds like a pretty diverse basket of unrelated events and policies, but there is a subtle common thread that clarifies what Trump really means by making America great again. The key word in his motto is “again,” because Trump believes the country has lost its way and ought to return to what it was in an earlier time. But most of us who’ve been around for a few decades know the “Good Old Days” really weren’t all that good. Since World War II we’ve seen major conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan which have drained our national vitality without resulting in anything we can reasonably call victory. And in the past thirty years we’ve lived through three financial shocks that came close to wrecking our economy.

Exactly what are the good old days that Trump views as a greater America than the one we live in? There were some clues in the new tax law and the failed attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Both were driven by a concerted effort from the political Right to head off what it saw as an intolerable transfer of wealth. The simple, obvious truth was that providing health care to every American was going to be expensive, and most of the bill would be have to be paid by taxing the wealthiest Americans.

It was also obvious that while the all-out attack against immigration was advertised as a need to protect the security of our nation, it is in fact an attempt to halt the browning of America. The white majority has been steadily decreasing for decades, and it was in jeopardy of becoming a minority that would shift the balance of power in future elections.

Trump’s remarks in Europe and the UK over the last few days brought all this into focus. His most blistering attacks were against Europe’s two strong female leaders and he warned them that immigration was destroying Europe’s culture and undermining its security. But that’s just semantic code for the same white supremacy-enabling rhetoric we heard in Charlottesville. Changing culture is a euphemism for allowing non-whites and women to have equal rights and permitting Islam to gain a foothold. It’s a fascist mentality that we thought we had suppressed after World War II, but apparently it is alive and well in the mind of Donald Trump.

Our relatively uneducated, ignorant president never learned the lessons of either history or science. Everything evolves, and that includes cultures and planetary environments. Nothing in the universe remains static and fighting against change is inevitably a losing battle. Trump’s better America is one in which its wealth is concentrated in the hands of a white, male, Christian oligarchy. His lack of respect for women in general and his unsubtle attempts to reduce their access to health care are similarly code for returning to an era when they stayed home raising children while men controlled business, commerce, and governments.

Trump’s dream of a greater America looks like a 1950s sitcom. But under that superficial veneer, it’s about greed and selfishness and excluding anyone who doesn’t look like Trump’s ideal American. And it’s not the world most of us want our grandchildren growing up in.

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The Evolution of Trump

Alan Zendell, July 11, 2018

Though it seems like we’ve been living this nightmare a lot longer, it’s been only three years since real estate tycoon and reality TV star Donald Trump announced that he was running for president. He began his campaign by unleashing the most outrageous side of his character. From his opening speech to the nation it was clear that he wasn’t going to pull any punches, and most of them would be aimed at people who were either disenfranchised or powerless to defend themselves.

He demonstrated complete disdain for people who had spent their entire lives learning the nuances of government craft. He claimed he didn’t need generals, diplomats or politicians telling him what to do. He knew better than anyone. And in the first act of the drama he has shown so much skill at orchestrating, he got us to shift our attention away from the truly hateful things he said to a debate over whether he would soften his rhetoric if he was elected.

The Master of the Deal was supposed to be an expert tactician when it came to negotiating. As he’d said over and over again, the way to get a successful deal was to stake out an extreme position and then see how much the opposition was able to chip away. The Trump model was to attack with no filters, put up a tough face at all times, and never admit he was wrong. But surely, if was elected he wouldn’t govern that way, would he?

The sixty percent of Americans who were not part of his rabid base let themselves be reduced to an audience. Such was the spectacle of Trump running roughshod over every norm and standard of decency, we were rooted to our seats as if we were watching an apocalyptic film in IMAX-3D. We stopped being horrified by the things he said in the same way that watching people being hacked up with chain saws eventually dulled our senses.

And then he was elected, and the sixty percent were in shock. Most of us couldn’t bear to look. We knew Donald Trump only from the persona he’d put forward, but we still had no idea what was in his heart. We knew he was driven by extreme narcissism and arrogance, but even so, watching him preen when senior generals and admirals were forced to cowtow to him was downright creepy. We already knew he was a sexual predator, but it seemed that his perverse pleasures had even more sinister aspects.

We were told not to worry. Jared and Ivanka would temper him, and he would surround himself with competent advisors. And once the shock wore off and his own party realized how they’d been hijacked, they’d stand and fight, wouldn’t they? Jared and Ivanka appear to have had no effect on him. Ivanka sat by and watched him encourage racism and hatred, and attack the health care net women and children depend on without saying a word.

As his attacks on our allies intensified and he moved to isolate us from the rest of world, a new reality emerged. Rather than mellowing and growing into the responsibility of leading the free world, he seemed to revel in tearing it apart. He also seemed to enjoy defying everyone from the media to his “advisers” over Russia and Vladimir Putin. It turned out that the Donald Trump who claimed to know better than everyone else on every subject had meant every word.

We’ve seen Trump evolve for three years, and the emerging reality of who he really is is more frightening than what we feared he might be three years ago. He is more arrogant and belligerent than ever, looking more than ever like the fascists of the last century. He’s essentially told the world he doesn’t need them, and he means it. He’s been tweeting these things since long before he ran for president. Why are we so surprised?

And here’s the really frightening part. He not only has no trouble believing he’s right and everyone else is wrong, but he is driven to prove it to the rest of the world. His narcissism is even more dangerous than we realized, as it blinds him to everything but the fights he picks and his need to win them.

The problem is that he is the President of the United States, and he has effectively silenced or co-opted Congress so that there is no significant opposition. When he isolated himself from our traditional allies, he isolated all of us. It’s not just one egomaniac picking fights, it’s putting the health and welfare of 326 million Americans in jeopardy. Most of us didn’t ask for this fight, and we don’t want it, but unless we elect a Congress that’s willing to resist, we’re stuck with it.

The left and the right have chosen sides. Our future lies in the hands of those who sat on them in the last election because they were so repulsed by the process. We can’t treat politics as a spectator sport this time around. Distasteful as it may be, if we don’t do our part things can only get worse.

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Distractions

Alan Zendell, July 5, 2018

The announcement of the retirement of Associate Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy ushered in a week of chaos, depression, anger, and anxiety. In other words, it had exactly the effect Donald Trump hoped it would. For a week, the media obsessed on the impending loss of women’s rights and affirmative action, and the death knell for Roe v Wade, paying little or no attention to much else that the administration did. To listen to most of the talking heads, finding a way to preserve abortion rights was the most urgent problem facing our nation.

It isn’t. In the worst case, the Supreme Court might decree that abortion rights should be adjudicated by the states, but the populous left-leaning states in the Northeast, the West, and the northern lakes won’t be changing their laws. Frankly, the abortion issue is mostly a distraction right now, with no certainty about whether the Court will weigh precedent over politics.

We can’t do anything to derail Trump’s American Idol-style spectacle scheduled for next Monday when he says he’ll announce his choice to replace Kennedy. There’s no point speculating who he’ll pick because he places as much emphasis on confounding the so-called experts as finding the best judge. Whoever he picks, the confirmation drama will play out in the Senate, much the way the health care bill was decided.

Will Senators Collins and Murkowski be bought off if Trump selects a woman, even one like Amy Coney Barrett, whose extreme religious views go against all the things they say they believe in? Will Trump be able to coerce the red state Democrats who are on the ballot in November to vote his way? Will John McCain make a surprise appearance when it’s time to vote? Tune in Monday night for this must-see television event – or don’t.

Whatever you decide, don’t waste your time wondering if Michael Cohen is going to flip on the President and don’t forget about North Korea, which may already be cheating on the deal that hasn’t even been agreed to yet. Pay close attention to Trump’s words when he visits Putin next week, especially after the Senate Intelligence Committee confirmed Russia’s election tampering in a bipartisan report. And watch carefully as Trump’s trade war heats up. Keep track of how many American companies are hurt by tariffs, how many of your neighbors lose their jobs, and how much more you pay for the things you need. Personally, I have no intention of giving up Canadian maple syrup.

Above all, don’t take your eye off the ball. The midterm elections will be here in 124 days. November 6, 2018 could be our last opportunity to derail the Trump juggernaut before the damage he does is too advanced to reverse.

It’s possible that the most significant event this month will be the resignation of Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator. Not because Trump is likely to finally realize how important protecting the environment is or because he could appoint a new administrator who isn’t a tool of the industries the EPA is supposed to regulate. The real significance of Pruitt’s departure is what it tells us about the administration’s priorities.

Pruitt wasn’t fired. The only way that could have happened was if he had publicly called Trump out for his ignorant attitude toward science and the health of our planet. If Trump had awakened one morning and decided to fire him because his scandalous behavior was an affront to every American, or if Trump had a moral center of his own that felt violated by Pruitt’s outrageous and possibly illegal behavior, we might have reason to rejoice. But instead, Trump continues to claim Pruitt did a great job and praises him because he reminds him of himself – brash, bold, unrepentant, acting in complete disregard of laws, public sentiment, and common decency. Sound familiar?

Pruitt is gone simply because Trump got tired of the bad press he was getting over Pruitt. He was spending too much time defending him that he would rather spend aping for the cameras and bragging about all the wonderful things he’s accomplished. You don’t rain on Trump’s parade the way Pruitt did and expect to survive forever.

Look at Pruitt’s departure in its proper light. It’s nothing to celebrate. It only confirms how corrupt this administration’s values are. It won’t be long before Pruitt is sitting pretty in some energy company penthouse where he has his choice of hand lotions.

And remember what’s important when November rolls around. That’s all that matters now.

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Stewart and Ocasio

Alan Zendell, June 29, 2018

For nearly a decade, Stephen Colbert played a whacked-out, ultra-conservative TV host, but when he took over The Late Show from David Letterman in September of 2015, shortly after Donald Trump announced that he was running for president, he revealed his true self. Colbert was the first television personality to address the dark side of Trump’s campaign rhetoric to a network audience on a daily basis.

Taking on the role of Gadfly-in-Chief was a huge risk as his initial ratings left his future in jeopardy. But as Trump’s personality emerged, Colbert relentlessly held the worst aspects of it up to public scrutiny. Make no mistake – Trump won the election, but he has never owned the hearts of the majority. Only two out of every five Americans approve of him, and Colbert has the ears of much of the other sixty percent who are repulsed by his behavior.

But fighting off Trump’s hateful rhetoric is exhausting, and every so often the Gadfly-in-Chief Emeritus shows up to assist. Yesterday was one such time when Jon Stewart stepped in to lend a hand. Though Stewart is a comedian by nature, when he speaks seriously, he’s more than capable of bringing tears to my eyes.

He began by stating the case perfectly. It’s not so much that we hate Trump for his policies, though many of them, like his decision to separate families at the border are undeniably despicable. What raises the hackles of the majority, in Stewart’s words, is that no matter what Trump does, “it always comes with an extra layer of gleeful cruelty and dickishness.” Could anyone have said it better?

The part of Stewart’s presentation that hit home was his quote from the Cooper Union address delivered in New York City on February 27, 1860, that propelled Abraham Lincoln from a relative unknown to the 1860 Republican Nomination for President. Since I can’t possibly improve on Stewart’s words, I’ll just repeat them.

 “What Lincoln said in his Cooper Union speech was to point out the one thing Southern slaveholders really wanted from the free states. ‘This and only this: cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right.’ It was on this point that Lincoln said the Union could not bend, and what Donald Trump wants is for us to stop calling his cruelty and fear and divisiveness wrong, but to join him in calling it right — and this we cannot do. And I say, by not yielding, we will prevail.”

That’s when the tears flowed. Sometimes, when things seem relatively hopeless, the best we can do utter inspiring words, like when FDR said “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” after Pearl Harbor. What Jon Stewart said staring earnestly into the camera after five minutes of clowning and aping went viral instantly. He was masterful. It won’t be easy, but we have a chance to at least throw a roadblock in the path of the Trump juggernaut of hate when we go to the polls in November.

Despite the gerrymanding that has made a mockery of the electoral system our founders devised, and despite Trump’s bullying of anyone who opposes him, it’s we the voters who get to decide the course of the remainder of his presidency, and if we don’t we have only ourselves to blame. We must change the face of Congress to one that is willing to defend the principles and values that Trump refuses to.

We don’t need marches and protests. We don’t have to mimic Trump’s calls to violence against the dissent that is a right guaranteed to us by our Constitution. We need to counteract the apathy and ennui that caused millions of people to stay home in 2016. That’s what got Trump elected, and only reversing that error can stop him from destroying all that is good about America.

Of course, we also need to have candidates worth voting for. We need people who can inspire the opposite of what Trump arouses in his base. In what was perhaps the perfect epilogue to Jon Stewart, he was followed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was fresh from staging the electoral upset of the year, when she defeated the fourth ranking Democrat in the House in Tuesday’s primary.

Young, bright, forward-looking, and energetic, when she was asked if she could stand up to Donald Trump, she responded with a brilliant smile: “Well you know, the president is from Queens, and … half of my district is from Queens. I don’t think he knows how to deal with a girl from the Bronx.” I don’t think he does either. My wife is from the Bronx, and I’d love to see Trump try to talk to her the way he does to most women.

We used to live in Ocasio’s district. I wish we still did so I could cast my vote for her in November.

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Immigration Referendum

Alan Zendell, June 22, 2018

It’s safe to say the midterm elections could turn on the immigration debacle. Consider the hot button issues of the past twelve months.

The North Korea summit didn’t move Trump’s approval rating appreciably, and if as seems likely, the aftermath drags along in the kind of stalemate that usually follows optimistic starts with one of the Kims, the summit will have faded into a frustrated memory by November.

The economy, mostly on the coattails of the stock market has been a consistent rallying point for the Trump Republicans. But the markets have stalled in 2018: the Dow Jones Industrial Index is down 1.5%, the S&P 500 is up 2.0%, and the NYSE Composite Index is down 2.7%. Employment numbers are good, but when Trump’s tariffs make everything cost more and retaliatory tariffs from China and other countries shrink American export markets, those numbers may not hold.

American voters have notoriously short memories. We’ve already seen signs of concern by farmers and manufacturers about the effects of a trade war. Project all that to November, and if Trump hasn’t delivered on his promise to fix immigration, he may have trouble convincing anyone but his base that his administration has been good for the country. Trump’s love of hyperbole when talking about himself and the blame he continually heaps on his predecessors leave no one to shift responsibility to if he fails to deliver.

His performance this week has left Republicans in a deep hole. His misstatements about separating families and the relevant laws have so far accomplished nothing of substance. He created the child incarceration crisis, and then tried to slap a bandaid on it with an executive order. But that order is a temporary fix at best, and at worst (and more likely) it will be impossible to execute because the White House is playing everything by ear with no organization or planning.

We’ve seen this act before, though the level of misinformation Trump disseminated this week is exceptional even for him. It’s not entirely clear how it occurred, but there are only three possibilities: he was deliberately lying, he was misinformed by his staff, or his administration is so mired in chaos, no one even knows what’s true. It really doesn’t matter which interpretation is correct – they’re all unacceptable.

He’s blamed Democrats, Mexico, drug lords, human traffickers, and the three presidents who preceded him for what he calls the worst immigration laws in the world. He says the rest of the world is laughing at us, and he may be right, but he’s dead wrong about why.

The “Democrat law” that Trump blames for the family separation crisis is a complete fiction. What caused it in reality was a succession of bi-partisan actions and orders that reflect Congress’s inability to reach a consensus on reasonable compromise legislation because extremists on both sides wouldn’t allow it. His contention that only Congressional action could put an end to child detention was simply false. Did Trump know he was lying or was his staff incompetently derelict in their research?

The fact is, he could have ended it by making a phone call, but instead he used the fragile fates of over two thousand children (aka hostages) as bargaining chips until the pressure from all sides forced him to back off. Now he hopes that appealing to a federal court for relief from the twenty-day limit on federal child detention will solve the problem. But even if the court that has already rejected a similar request in the past grants it this time, it will only result in a backlog of entry and asylum applications that could drag well past the election before it is resolved. And let’s not forget those DACA kids who have been left dangling with no clear future because Trump has never cared what happens to them.

Three days ago, Trump punted the responsibility back to Congress, and while he was probably correct to do so, he doesn’t appreciate that the problem can only be solved with a bipartisan effort. He still thinks he can play chicken with House Republicans who don’t seem to able to agree among themselves and with Senate Democrats who he needs if he expects to pass meaningful legislation.

But it’s clear today that he’s only setting Congress up to fail so he can blame them, just as he did with health care. This morning, after challenging them to fix immigration, Trump pulled the rug out from under the House Republicans which had been scrambling to try to pass something. He told them not to bother until after the election when he’s certain his majority in Congress will increase, and he can be even more hard line than he is now.

Think of it, 535 people elected by the people to represent them in Congress, scurrying around doing his bidding. It must make him feel almost king-like. Of course, if the rest of us get off our butts and vote next November, the 39% of voters who still approve of him won’t be enough to save his Congressional majority much less increase it. It’s up to us to show him he’s not a king after all.

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