President Trump, the Shutdown, and 2020

Republicans should feel a great sense of pride. When President Trump was elected, he made a promise to build a wall to protect Americans and to prevent people from entering the country illegally. Two years later, despite the Democrats’ continued refusal to adequately fund the wall and a subsequent partial-government shutdown, the President has stood strong in his demand for adequate funding. This could help his re-election bid in 2020. 

Many of Trump’s most ardent supporters expect a wall. For those conservatives, Trump’s stance on immigration was a huge selling point during the presidential election. According to FoxNews, “Trump faced mounting pressure from immigration-minded conservatives to dig in on his demand for $5 billion to fund a border wall, a signature campaign promise -- before Democrats take over the House in January.”

According to Dan Bongino, public support for the border wall has reached an all-time high. As Bongino pointed out, a new Quinnipiac poll of 1,147 voters found that 43% now support a border wall and 54% oppose it. In August, support was at 38%, thereby reflecting a five-point jump in a relatively short period of time. More importantly for the president, 86% of Republicans and 47% of Independents support building the wall, while 90% of Democrats oppose it.   

Despite the increasing support for the wall, a recent article in The Hill stated that the current government shutdown could hurt Republicans and provide an opportunity for Democrats. More particularly, according to Douglas Schoen, the Democrats sought a bipartisan solution to the border wall/immigration issue and did not ask for the shutdown. In addition, the American public wants leadership that gets things done, not one that shuts down the government. Therefore, if Democrats are able to broker a deal once they take control of the House in January, it could help them with the voters in 2020.

While some of Schoen’s points are well-taken, others are debatable. For example, many would not construe Democratic “efforts” as bipartisan in nature. Specifically, according to PoliticusUSA, some House Democrats previously and firmly stated that they didn’t want to give Trump a single penny to fund his border wall. Moreover, Chuck Schumer has unequivocally stated his opposition to the wall. CNSNews quoted Schumer as saying, “So, President Trump, if you want to open the government, you must abandon the wall, plain and simple. The Senate is not interested in swindling American taxpayers for an unnecessary, ineffective, and wasteful policy.”

What is surprising about Schumer’s opposition to the wall is the fact that he, then-senator Clinton and then-senator Obama all voted in favor of the Secure Fence Act in 2016, which authorized approximately 700 miles of fencing between the border of the United States and Mexico. While the fence was a “smaller” project relative to Trump’s wall, Schumer’s reaction to Trump’s proposed wall is highly unusual in light of his position in 2016.

The fact that Democrats have continued to deny funding for the wall could potentially hurt them in 2020. According to an article in Politico:

[i]gnoring Americans’ widespread concerns over immigration and border enforcement is politically unsustainable. Rising nationalism around the world will not soon disappear, and the number of global migrants is likely to rise -- not fall -- in the future. In the United States, illegal immigration was the highest-rated concern among Republican voters in polling released on October 15. In Europe, voters in 21 of 28 countries surveyed cited immigration as the top issue facing the continent, despite steadily decreasing migrant arrivals. If real steps aren’t taken to manage the numbers of migrants, then the public backlash will increase and anti-immigrant platforms and candidates will continue to win elections.         

President Trump must continue to stand strong and demand funding for the border wall. Support for the wall among Americans is increasing and is very high among Republicans. If President Trump backs away from one of his primary promises to those who put him in office, he will likely hurt his re-election effort. However, if he continues to demand funding for the wall before signing a proposed budget (and despite the partial shutdown), he will confirm that he is a man of his word and that he is able to act with strength and resolve when necessary. This could help him come 2020.

Mr. Hakim is a writer, commentator and a practicing attorney.  His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Western Journal, American Thinker and other online publications.

Twitter: @ThoughtfulGOP

If you experience technical problems, please write to