Trump’s immigration success

It’s notorious that bureaucracies are hard to change from the top down.

He’ll sit here, and he’ll say, ‛Do this! Do that!’  *And nothing will
happen.*  Poor Ike—it won’t be a bit like the Army. He’ll find it
very frustrating.  — Harry S Truman

But Donald Trump has pretty much done that. He’s really in practice
cutting back immigration to just those people that the US allows in, and
cutting back which people the US allows in … all without getting
Congress to change the laws.

One of the more amazing bits is the shutting of the asylum pipeline that
people from Central America were using. For a while there, about
100,000 people a month were arriving from Central America and claiming
asylum, and due to the details of US immigration law, were “caught and
released” into the US. That was a significant fraction of the workers
coming into the US labor market. Needless to say, it caused apoplexy in
Trump supporters.

I’ll note here that I don’t know the details of asylum law, but given
the general violence in Central America, I wouldn’t be surprised if all
of these people qualified for asylum. What I would be surprised is if
this is different now than from any of the last 100 years.

But despite what one would think possible, Trump has managed to shut
this pathway off. I’d be interested in reading a clear discussion of
exactly how this was managed.

A new, more civilized Reign of Terror

The heads that roll (and will roll) in our Reign of Terror are figurative, not literal. That’s really the basic distinction between our Reigh of Terror and Robespierre’s. Disloyalty to the new order (real or imagined) will not be toleraled.

The suggestion that Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman should now face punishment by the Pentagon was one sign of how determined the president is to even the scales after his impeachment.

Trump’s strategy for a second term

“[T]he campaign’s broad strategy: Keep his conservative base energized and chip away at his problems in the suburbs and communities of color. …

“Most of the president’s aides concede that his base of supporters is not enough to re-elect him, and that he must attract the voters who were repelled by his behavior and voted against Republicans in the 2018 midterms — particularly upscale whites, suburban women and self-described independent voters who polls repeatedly show think the president is racist, or has a troubling temperament, or both.”

With impeachment behind the president, his re-election campaign wants to address political weaknesses exacerbated by his policies and behavior.

But stop it we must

Max Boot in the WaPo: “Yet, despite all the differences between British and American politics, there are too many disturbing parallels to ignore. Like Trump, Johnson was born to privilege and lacks empathy for those who weren’t. Like Trump, Johnson is unprincipled and opportunistic. Like Trump, Johnson lies like crazy and never seems to pay a price for his dishonesty. Like Trump, Johnson harnesses fear and loathing of immigrants among aging, white voters. Like Trump, Johnson weaponizes social media and spreads disinformation. Like Trump, Johnson has received Russian support (the Tory Party has gotten at least $4.7 million from Russian donors in the past decade) and has tried to block the public from learning about Russian political interference. And, like Trump, Johnson was long judged too much of a lightweight and opportunist to lead his nation. …

“Right-wing populists like Trump and Johnson have figured out how to mesmerize voters with their simplistic slogans and spellbinding showmanship. They are political sorcerers — and no opponent has yet figured out how to consistently break their spell. Unless Democrats can crack the code in the next 10 months, the West might never recover. A good start would be to avoid nominating a presidential candidate who — even if less extreme than Corbyn — is still far too left for the mainstream electorate.”

Due process and impeachment

“The basic sentiment [among Republicans] is that the president is being railroaded. But the reality is that when it comes to impeachment, there aren’t any protections for the president laid out in the Constitution. In fact, experts told me that pretty much any rights Democrats give Trump are above and beyond what they’re required to do. Trump hasn’t been charged with a crime and impeachment isn’t a legal proceeding, so he doesn’t have any of the rights you hear about on “Law and Order,” including due process. In the world of impeachment, “fairness” means whatever the majority party in the House of Representatives thinks it should mean. …

“Trump might feel that the impeachment process is unfair, but if it is, it’s because the Constitution made it that way.”