The government shutdown fight may be burning quietly over this holiday week, but it still needs to end. President Trump’s lather, rinse, repeat routine of hoisting out border wall funding as an eleventh-hour demand over which to shut down the government is getting old, particularly for his base. In 2018 alone, the federal government has shut down three separate times, always due to an immigration negotiation spurred by Trump. The country blames the president.
Trump can’t afford to go into the 2020 election without a cent of real funding for a physical barrier along the southern border. With Democrats taking over the House and mobilized to resist Trump at all costs, President Dealmaker needs to finally sit Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., at the table and make one.
In a stroke of irony, Trump’s best bet looks eerily similar to the Gang of Eight bill that passed the Senate with a whopping 68 votes.
Repeal the diversity visa? Check.
Significantly curb the extent of chain migration? Check.
Institute a points-based meritocratic immigration system to keep out the bad hombres? Check.
Require employers to use E-verify? Check.
Crack down on our existing visa system? Check.
Deliver Democrats a win in allowing existing DACA recipients amnesty and a pathway to citizenship? Check.
And most importantly, allocate $4.5 billion to the Department of Homeland Security for border security (read: the wall)? Checkmate.
Trump botched this latest round of negotiations at every step, from publicly declaring that he would own the shutdown to suggesting that Senate Republicans nuke the legislative filibuster right as Democrats are about to take over the House. But for the author of The Art of the Deal to sit down Schumer and make him reject the bill that he sponsored just five years ago would be the greatest and grandest finale of this incessantly boring performance art-as-politics.
Outside of this, Trump doesn’t have too much of a choice. In January, it seemed unlikely that Democrats would give Trump a penny for the wall without some protection of DACA recipients, and now it seems impossible.
So go ahead Mr. President, show us the art of the deal.