In addition to nonstop direct assaults launched by Democrat politicos, the Destroy Trump media, and NeverTrump Republicans, the tactic of divide and conquer is also deployed by these presidential adversaries. They seek to divide President Trump from his base not only by relentlessly carping about what they see as his abject unfitness, but also by assailing the Trump administration with faux complaints about promises not kept.
The goal is to make the Trump faithful lose faith, to make them look and feel like suckers. The problem with this strategery is that you can’t have it both ways. You can’t lay down a relentless drumbeat of withering criticism and ridicule, augmented by entrenched obstruction, and then pretend that it’s somehow the president’s fault that some of his campaign promises have not been kept. The promise deficit is a direct result of the actions of the very people who seek to foment doubts and buyer’s remorse. It is apparent going into the president’s third year that his base is not buying it.
A prime example of this approach often crops up on the subject of immigration, and specifically the border wall. “Where’s the wall he promised?” taunt Trump critics, hoping to elicit a “Yeah, where is the wall” response from Trump’s troops.
On a recent episode of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” after his usual Trump-scathing monologue, the host sarcastically remarked something to the effect of “and the wall still isn’t built.” I cite Maher not because he’s a particularly cogent analyst (he makes no bones about his chronic marijuana habit), but because his comment demonstrates one disingenuous way the anti-Trump chattering class attempts to engender second thoughts in minds of loyal Trumpservatives.
The comment was an obvious swipe at people across the country who Maher and his fellow elitists believe are too stupid to grasp that the divide-and-conquer ploy is being played against them. It fails, miserably, because the Trump base understands quite clearly exactly what has been going on.
Against the border wall, and every other Trump administration immigration proposal and action meant to ensure American sovereignty and keep the country safe from drugs, crime, terror, and an inundating wave of impoverished immigrants, the left in all its incarnations has resisted tooth and nail. Censorious rhetoric and a smorgasbord of countermeasures have targeted the travel ban, the DACA fix, trial balloons suggesting an end to birthright citizenship and chain migration, and border wall funding.
One of the most effective of these push-back tactics continues to be “jurisdictional shopping” by which advocacy groups take Trump’s best-laid plans to federal court before leftist and activist judicial bodies. The most recent example is the action against Trump’s move to crack down on asylum claims, an adjunct to his April 2018 memorandum asking his administration to immediately end “catch and release.” This latest iteration of the immigration policy wars comes as a result of the president’s attempt to deal with the claims process as regards Central American immigrants amassing at the southern border. Foregoing any customary period of congressional oversight or public comment, Trump’s administration submitted a rule clarifying asylum claim restriction to the federal register, which allowed the rule to go into effect immediately.
That’s the kind of aggressive action Trump’s base was hoping for when they voted for him. It is also precisely the kind of action that globalist, open-borders left-wingers will climb every hill to resist.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, and others swiftly sued the administration for effectively introducing what they deemed an “asylum ban,” arguing that the rule improperly overhauled longstanding asylum laws that ensure people fleeing persecution can seek safety in the United States. A federal judge in San Francisco promptly blocked the so-called asylum ban, which is now headed for the liberal-leaning Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Trump, expecting the judge’s ruling to be upheld there, called the ruling a disgrace, and vowed to fight and win in the U.S. Supreme Court.
With this kind of resistance greeting virtually every Trump move to clamp down on illegal immigration, is it any wonder his overall success has been limited? With Democrats now controlling the House, look for congressional obstruction and judicial activism to increasingly hamstring Trump’s efforts to protect America’s border. In this reactionary-left environment, it’s a wonder the president has gotten anything done on this issue, and he’s been more successful against illegal immigration than any president in recent history.
Any patently obvious ploy to separate Trump from his base by suggesting the president hasn’t fulfilled his promises is falling on deaf ears in Trump Country. You can’t bash and obstruct his administration at every turn and then turn around and chasten Trump supporters for voting for a man who can’t deliver.
Which brings us back to Maher’s “where’s the wall” taunt, which is just one example of the divide and conquer tactic in action. Remember, it was Maher who admonished his fellow leftist for crying wolf about Governor Mitt Romney’s unfitness for the presidency. It is an intellectually dishonest permutation of crying wolf to castigate a leader for something he has not done, when in the opinion of the castigator that something should not be done.
Using snarky reverse psychology on “stupid” Trump voters ain’t going to work. They know that plenty of those promises have been kept, or are in the process of attempting to be kept. When the fulfillment of the president’s promises hits a roadblock, they know who is responsible.
Among the responsible are elitists like the talented Mr. Maher (disclosure: he’s my favorite of the Destroy Trump comedians—the man can be hysterically funny), who are effectively shielded from the scourge of illegal drugs, the street-level threat of terror and increased crime, and the invasion of an underclass of low-wage, poorly-educated, unassimilable immigrants.