by Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.
On Friday, relatively unexpectedly, President Trump announced a deal that would temporarily end the partial federal government shutdown. Under the terms of the deal, Congress would pass a continuing resolution funding the government for three weeks. During that time, according to the President, Democrats and Republicans would work out a deal bringing about a solution to border security inclusive of erecting a wall at the United States’ southern border.
The plan, of course, assumes that the Democrats would faithfully negotiate a solution to America’s border security issues. But we know, of course, that the Democrats neither desire a wall nor negotiate in good faith. Moreover, the President made a tactical error in signaling that if an appropriate resolution were not made in the next three weeks he may use his emergency powers to build the wall anyway.
We can safely predict that the Democrats would relish cornering the President into employing his emergency powers for the construction of a southern wall because they know that a hostile judiciary would kill the President’s wall project even if the Supreme Court leans conservative.
In the eyes of the Democrats, the long road towards killing the President’s wall is now wide open, and they intend to take it.
So what should the President do? Truth is, the President has a path that likely leads to building the wall, and almost certainly, to his reelection, and he too must take it.
Now, I acknowledge that President Trump does look a little tired, like a prizefighter in the eighth round that has taken his share of body punches and a few too many jabs to the face. The President is tired from seven rounds of abuse, and he is wondering if he can take another eight rounds. Suffice it to say, that the President needs a couple of days to recharge his batteries and remind himself of the immeasurably noble reasons he has undertaken this venture and the incredible accomplishments he has already realized.
What’s more, the President is right; border security is a matter of fundamental importance to the nation’s stability and safety, and it is proper for him to expend whatever energies necessary to solving a problem regarding which Congress has been negligent for decades.
President Trump’s strength lies in the grassroots. This President is backed by a slew of patriotic, hard-working people who have been begging for a fight. In fact, the only reason the President was elected is because that group wanted to fight. The President therefore needs to let them.
Just like in the midterm elections, the President needs to hold a series of rallies (at least three times a week) in stadiums all across the country where the multitudes enthusiastically and continuously chant, “Build the wall! Build the wall!!”
Second, during these rallies, the President needs to explain that he has done everything the Democrats have asked to solicit their cooperation. He needs to tell of all the deals he has worked, all the offers he has made, and how he has reopened the government for the purposes of making sure Congress accomplishes the mission of addressing border security, since after all, that’s exactly what the Democrats, and even some Republicans in Congress, said needed to happen.
Next, at every rally, he must blame the Democrats for any future government shutdown. Remember, the media have hung the shutdown albatross around President Trump’s neck. But this argument is no longer applicable. By reopening the government, Trump has also reset the culpability analysis, and in this sport, whoever can blame the other more effectively wins.
President Trump must come out of the gates saying that if this deal does not happen, then the consequences of their negligence is completely on the Democrats’ back. He must explain that we have seen the deleterious effects of a government shutdown. We have seen the suffering of those furloughed workers who, by the way, the Democrats never cared enough to allow back to work. We have seen, he must tell them, of the dilapidated state of our national parks and the disruption to our airports. We have also seen the humanitarian crisis that the continuing dereliction in Congress’s duties in solving the nation’s immigration problem has caused.
The Democrats know this, he must explain, and they have it in their power to solve the immigration problem and the issue of funding the government. And if they don’t, then it will be 100% on the Democrats.
And lastly, if the Democrats fail to come to terms, under no circumstances does the President reopen the government nor does he use his emergency powers to build the wall, because after all, the erection of a wall through the Presidential emergency powers will be insufficient to solve the calamity that exists at our southern border nor will it address the thousands of people that reside in this country illegally through visa overstays.
The President has done a great job at bringing the problem of our border security to the forefront of the American psyche, and with that has come a brilliant opportunity to permanently solve this blemish on our nation and its policies.
As far as the President is concerned, if the Democrats do not deliver, he rides their failure all the way to his re-election. And then we’ll see what strength-of-will the American people, and more importantly, that subgroup of Americans who fundamentally care about the future of our country, possess.
Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and cohost of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod. Dr. Gonzalez is presently serving in the Florida House of Representatives. He can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com to arrange a lecture or book signing.
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