Trump has put Schumer in a no-win situation on DACA
How do Democrats explain to themselves the way they keep getting outsmarted by a man they claim is a moron? President Trump has Democrats exactly where he wants them on the issue of DACA. Even PBS gets it:
With a new deadline fast approaching, Democrats in Congress are struggling to adopt a unified strategy to protect hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation.
Their inaction has enraged liberal activists across the country, who have shifted their anger in recent days from Republicans who control Congress to Democrats seeking to balance their commitment to a progressive priority with their desire to avoid an explosive government shutdown heading into the 2018 midterm elections.
The “young immigrants” in question are the so-called “Dreamers,” that group of illegal immigrants purportedly brought to this country by their parents, one quarter of whom are functionally illiterate and half of whom have not bothered to learn English. The Democrats correctly see them as future voters, and hope that chain migration triples or quadruples the 800,000 into millions of new Democrats if they are allowed to gain permanent residence and citizenship.
MS 13 members in an American prison (source)
The problem is that the general public is far from convinced that legalizing a group of border violators likely to become tax consumers, not tax payers, is the most pressing problem facing the nation, worthy of shutting down the government if Democrats don’t get their way. President Trump already called their bluff when they threatened the continuing resolution over DACA last month and the Dems caved and averted a Christmas season government shutdown. Their problem is that a substantial part of their base is angry over that concession to public opinion:
Liberal groups largely blame Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York for not uniting Democrats behind a hardline strategy, as he did during recent debates on taxes and health care.
“This is on Schumer. His most important job is to keep his caucus together,” said Angel Padilla, policy director for the Trump resistance group called Indivisible.
More than a dozen Hispanic House members — all Democrats — forced a meeting late last month with Schumer on this issue.
Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., said Schumer assured Hispanic lawmakers that Democrats “will lay it all on the line” to protect Dreamers.
Yet it remains unclear whether Schumer will push his party to risk a government shutdown.
President Trump engineered this dilemma for Schumer by rescinding Obama’s executive order creating the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, but giving Congress until March 2018 to come up with an alternative approach. That trap is now closing in on Schumer. He has 10 Democrat senators up for re-election in November in states that voted for Trump. Will Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, John Tester of Montana, and Claire McCaskill of Missouri be willing to tell their voters that they think amnesty for a group that includes MS 13 members is so important that the government ought to be shut down? Or, if President Trump and the GOP offer some form of amnesty that does not include chain migration (thereby rewarding the parents that illegally brought their children here) but does include border wall funding, are they willing to vote against it?
The Senate Democrats have been able to enforce a remarkable degree of party solidarity, far more discipline than the GOP. That is a huge bargaining asset for Schumer, already empowered by his party’s pickup in Alabama. But DACA looks like it could be a wedge issue destroying that disciplinary power.
This is a no-win situation. Harvard graduate Schumer should be asking himself how he got himself into this situation. But of course, he won’t. Either he alienates his base, or he risks adding to the GOP Senate majority by shutting down the government and having Trump fighting back in ways that never would have occurred to Presidents Bush or any establishment Republicans.