Tag: DACA

Save Your Outrage

The government shutdown is over, amounting to little more than a long weekend for federal employees. It is now fashionable to insist that, on this issue, the Democrats caved or lost or ran away screaming into the night — whatever phrase suits you — as the GOP trounced them.

 

Indeed, I would have preferred if the Democrats had fought harder for Dreamers, or emerged with some kind of pledge for immigration reform. But that didn’t happen.

Instead, we have smug Republicans claiming they won, and pissed-off liberals shrieking that they will never donate another cent to Democrats unless the party runs a vegan socialist woman for president in 2020.

However, the truth is that Democrats were probably correct (at least on a political level) to compromise. It was becoming clear that the GOP’s idiotic assertion that “illegal immigrants” were getting preferential treatment over good, hard-working, red-blooded, god-fearin’ Americans was resonating, and the longer the shutdown went on, the more points the GOP would earn.

So the Democrats cut a deal and got CHIP refunded, which is hardly a minor thing. We’re talking about millions of poor children receiving health care (why exactly Republicans — the supposedly religious party — would be against this is a discussion for another time).

In addition, the Dreamers live to fight another day. Yes, we’ve been reduced to that vague concept of “hope” when it comes to DACA, but I remain optimistic that a program that has the support of the vast majority of Americans will eventually pave the pathway to citizenship that the Dreamers deserve.

And the further good news is that, as of right now, we’re not allocating any money to Trump’s damn wall, which remains the most simplistic solution to a complex issue in the history of American politics, as well as the biggest con on rural voters ever.

By the way, I’ll say it again: There will never be a wall — not a real one anyway. I can’t imagine the disappointment among white nationalists when, years from now, there is not even a brick on the Mexican border where there was supposed to be an impenetrable barrier.

Actually, their disappointment will be dwarfed with the realization that there are now more Latinos, Muslims, out gay people, and assertive women than ever before, and their emperor-god Trump did absolutely nothing to stem the tide,

But now I’m predicting what will happen years from now, which is always tricky business. So I’ll stick to prognosticating about the end of 2018, specifically the midterm elections in November.

No, I don’t know if Democrats will ride a fabled blue tsunami to victory, or if Republicans will once again find a way to cling to undeserved power. But I do know this: Months from now, nobody will even remember this shutdown, and whether the Democrats won or lost. This skirmish will not matter in the larger war.

And there are many more battles to come.

 


Nope, Not Impressed

I really should have become a political pundit. I mean, how hard can it be?

These people snag a lot of cash to make predictions, but studies have shown that “although they are paid for their keen insights into world affairs, they often perform worse than random chance.” In fact, “a dart-throwing chimp would have beaten the vast majority of professionals” when it comes to forecasting political outcomes.

That would also make for a substantially more entertaining Sunday morning talk show.

 

To be fair, predictions are extremely difficult to make (especially about the future). After all, most of us thought that we would be calling Hillary Clinton “Madam President” by this point.

However, one would think that pundits could at least analyze the current situation. One would hope that so-called experts could use their vast knowledge about the political climate and their experience with the players involved to come to a reasonable conclusion about what is going on right in front of them, with no need to predict anything.

One would be wrong.

For example, recently our illustrious president set out to strangle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program with his own grimy, tiny hands. But then he said, “Ha, just kidding. I love the Hispanics.” And he then “signaled his embrace of granting permanent legal status to the Dreamers as part of a deal with Democrats that he said is close to being finalized.”

This is of course comes shortly after Trump “bucked his own party’s leaders and sided with Democrats on a deal to bundle Hurricane Harvey relief funds, a three-month debt-limit increase, and a three-month continuing resolution to keep the government funded.”

And of course, pundits have responded with acclaim that Trump is finally acting presidential, and is listening to his advisors to be more reasonable. Yes, the narcissistic bully with no regard for the truth is at long last buckling down and working to move the country forward — right?

Um, no — that’s optimistic to the point of delusional.

Trump is not pivoting, or moving to the middle, or any other form of wishful thinking that implies he is suddenly going to be more reasonable. Nor is he executing some grand master plan to advance his agenda, or springing an intricate trap to ensnare Democrats.

The man has no agenda, other than self-glorification. And he is not capable of devising any complicated, ingenious schemes whatsoever.

It should be clear to everyone — and I mean, everyone — that the real Trump was revealed long ago and is never going to change.

He is a thin-skinned old man with minimal impulse control and a bottomless pit of rage. Everything he does is about the moment, with no regard to the future, and he relies on his base instincts to get him through the day.

So when Trump got into a room with a bunch of Republicans he hates, and a few Democrats whom he could tolerate, he just went with his gut. When it came to the budget deal, Trump agreed with a stance that he didn’t really understand, because he has no patience for in-depth analysis. All he knew is that the boring meeting would be over soon, and he would get to humiliate Mitch McConnell while he was at it. That’s a rare win-win for him.

He repeated this process, more or less, with DACA. Although this time, he belatedly realized that he had unwittingly come across as almost human, thereby angering his fearful, venom-spewing supporters. And so he has since backtracked (a rare maneuver for him) and wound up contradicting himself (a common maneuver for him).

In any case, his full strategy has always been based upon split-second indifference.

It’s baffling why people see his hasty decision-making and obliviousness to political considerations as somehow “presidential.” He did what he has always done, and it just so happened that in these cases, it has benefitted Democrats (the law of averages dictates that this would eventually happen). And it could possibly even benefit the Dreamers, which would be a happy accident.

Yes, it’s amusing to see Republicans suddenly come to the realization that Trump doesn’t give a fuck about them or their agenda. He never did.

But there is no real change here. By next week, Trump will be tweeting some new threat, or sabotaging the political process, or otherwise infesting American democracy with every second he spends in the Oval Office.

And some political pundit will say that this time it will be different.

 


A Subtle Hint

Clearly, our flaming oil spill of a president can’t go a week without lashing out at Latinos. That’s no exaggeration.

We are still struggling to process the pardoning of Arpaio, and how it illustrates nothing less than pure contempt for Hispanics.

But now Trump has ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — also called DACA — which puts “an expiration date on the legal protections granted to roughly 800,000 people known as DREAMers, who entered the country illegally as children.”

Of course, Trump’s defenders insist that he hasn’t killed DACA, because there is a six-month phasing out of the program, and Congress still has the option of addressing the issue, and blah blah blah.

Let’s stop the foolishness.

This was a cruel, wrong, and inhumane action that has no discernible benefit to America (unless you count “a potential $60 billion loss in tax revenue to the federal government and $280 billion hit to economic growth” as a good thing). Hell, even many Republicans support DACA.

Obviously, killing the program cheers up Trump’s base of racists and hard-right supporters. But more than anything, it is a petulant foot stomping by a bigot who just doesn’t like Hispanics terribly much. It is the shrieking of a black-hearted man who sincerely believes that “most people aren’t worthy of respect” and who suffers from a “profound fear of his fellow human beings — at least ones who don’t resemble him.”

And through all this, I have to wonder about those Latinos who still support Trump.

What additional evidence do they need to realize that this guy is not their buddy? What are they seeing in Trump that the rest of us are somehow missing?

Does Jeff Sessions have to show up at their front door, demanding that they pack up and get the hell out of the country, before they will acknowledge how much this administration loathes Hispanics?

Hey, don’t rule anything out.


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