Roger Kimball has correctly identified the government shutdown over the wall as the key nexus of Donald Trump’s presidency:
George Bush was a gentleman. He didn’t like it when people called him mean names. He was offended when the media ganged up on him and said he was a terrible person. So he caved. He didn’t want to. He said he didn’t want to. He probably thought about saying he did it only as a “last resort.” Doubtless the memory of politicians checking into that resort stopped him.
There is a lesson in Bush’s pursed lips for President Trump. Bush was elected in large part because of his promise not to raise taxes. Similarly, a major reason that Donald Trump was elected was his promise to build a wall on our southern border. The wall was just a synecdoche for border security and an America-first immigration policy. But it was a vivid, concrete (no pun intended) manifestation of that determination. It was, politically, the sine qua non of that policy.
President Trump has kept an astonishing number of his campaign promises, from his Scalia-like judicial nominations to moving our Israeli embassy to Jerusalem. He has begun hacking away at the stifling regulatory environment built up by the administrative state and he has inaugurated a much-needed renovation of the United States military. He has cut taxes (though not enough) and eviscerated Obamacare. He has, just a few days ago, announced that the United States would be pulling out of Syria and there are plans, at long last, to bring our troops home from Afghanistan. Promises made, promises kept.
But there is one critical promise he has, so far, been unable to keep. The wall. He has to build the wall. It was the cornerstone of his campaign.
Again, the wall, like lines in the Constitution if you are a left-wing jurist, has plenty of emanations and penumbras. It means robust border control. It means an America-first immigration policy. It means lots of things.
But the wall is the indispensable objective correlative of those things. Donald Trump has to build the wall, and he has to be seen to have built the wall. If not, he will lose in 2020.
It’s very simple and straightforward. If the God-Emperor builds the wall, he will win in a Trumpslide. If he does not, he will probably lose despite all the advantages enjoyed by an incumbent President. This should not be a difficult decision for him, no matter what pressure is directed at him by the media, by the Democrats, or by the Republican Party establishment.
Build the wall and win, fail to build the wall and lose. This isn’t something that can be finessed, negotiated, or explained away. Build the wall or lose like a bitch named Bush.
Trump supporters care about two things. Build the Wall and Drain the Swamp. Everything else – literally everything else – is tertiary at best. It’s time to focus, Mr. President. Nothing else matters.