Begun, the border wall wars have.
Earlier in the week, the fate of funding for the border wall was up in the air. With President Trump appearing to cave on his demand that Congress place $5 billion in the annual budget for construction of the border wall, many on the right had all but given up hope.
Prominent conservative pundits — including Rush Limbaugh, and most notably, Ann Coulter, railed against the president’s seeming failure to stand his ground. It’s hard to blame them given the fact that just the week before, Trump told Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi that he was willing to shut down the government if he was not given funding for the border wall.
Now, it appears that the president has changed his mind and is no longer willing to fold under pressure. As of midnight on Saturday, nonessential government functions were halted and will remain so until the executive and legislative branches can come to an understanding.
We’ve seen these types of conflicts play out before. The question is: How can conservatives win this battle?
Don’t Give In!
First, President Trump absolutely must not give up. Government shutdowns are the political equivalent of the game “chicken,” and in the past, Republicans have usually been the ones to blink first. While many polls show that Americans do not favor a border wall, the vast majority of Republicans do — and it is an issue that could cost the president in 2020 if he does not stick to his guns.
It is also worth noting that a recent Quinnipiac University poll revealed that while more Americans oppose the wall, their opposition is waning while those who support building a barrier is on the rise. Moreover, studies have also shown that the majority of Americans favor Trump’s overall approach to the issue of illegal immigration.
It is likely that any of the individuals who would blame Trump for the shutdown would be enraged if the wall were built. Put simply, they may not want a wall, but they don’t believe it to be as important an issue as others, especially if they like how the president is handling the illegal immigration issue.
This current battle is critical. The Trump administration has everything to gain and everything to lose. For this reason, the GOP cannot afford anything less than a decisive victory.
Keep The Left On The Defense
Messaging is essential to winning the battle over the border wall. And yet, it has historically been one of the GOP’s greatest weaknesses. To be blunt, the Republican Party sucks at selling their solutions, and the left has always dominated in this arena.
This has to change — not just for this battle, but for the overall fight.
While the shutdown is in effect, President Trump and Republican lawmakers need to hammer home their points on a daily basis. They need to highlight the Democrats’ ambivalence about border security. Draw attention to the many Americans who have lost their lives to illegal immigrants. Explain how sanctuary cities make citizens and legal residents less safe. Keep harping on the amount of money unchecked illegal immigration is costing the United States.
And make sure that the American public knows that Democrats are the ones who are causing these problems.
Instead of letting the left force conservatives to defend their position on illegal immigration and the border wall, the GOP must keep progressives on the defense. Building a wall will cause absolutely no harm to the United States — indeed, it will keep more people safe. So why would progressives have a problem with protecting Americans? Why are they not troubled by the deaths of those who have been killed by illegal immigrants? Why are they not concerned with the drugs and human trafficking that results from having weak border security? These are questions they must be forced to answer.
All Or Nothing
As stated previously, this is a crucial battle that the GOP cannot afford to lose. One of the primary reasons why Trump won the election was because he promised to build a wall and do more to stem the flow of illegal immigrants into the country. Despite the left’s incessant cries of “racism” and “xenophobia,” the American public wants immigrants to enter the country legally. Conservatives are in a great position to emerge victorious, but only if they dig in and resist the attacks of the Democrats and their allies in the legacy media.
If the GOP refuses to win this fight, they will regret it when 2020 comes around. Their constituents are deadly serious about their wish to enforce our immigration laws and prevent people from taking advantage of our country by subverting our laws. If they back down now, it is not likely that voters will turn out to support them in the next election. Indeed, they might just be angry enough to support their opponents in the primaries. If we want better border security, the time is now. If it doesn’t happen now, it may never happen.