Trump, Painted in a Corner

Greg Sargent writes that Trump supporters are in meltdown mode:

With the chatter intensifying about the possibility of President Trump cutting a deal to protect the “dreamers,” The Post reports today that his loudest supporters are in a fury. They are warning that “the base” will desert him if he commits such a massive betrayal.  …

…The most vocal immigration hard-liners who backed Trump in the media and Congress — people such as Ann Coulter, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), and Stephen K. Bannon and his merry Breitbart warriors — are warning Trump that his voters won’t tolerate it if he agrees to legislative protections for hundreds of thousands of people brought here illegally as children, as part of a deal with Dems.

However, Sargent goes on to argue that what they’re really afraid of is not that Trump’s base will turn against him, but that it won’t. Robert Costa and Michael Scherer write,

Yet the lasting political cost of Trump’s engagement with top Democrats on immigration remained ambiguous. While Coulter and others vented, several conservative leaders Thursday remained hesitant about breaking with the president publicly given his continued grass-roots support and their desire to focus Republican ire on the leadership in Congress.

“The jury is still out on whether the base starts to leave him. And I’m not sure what the truth is,” Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said in an interview. “If this stands and we end up with amnesty, the base that was pulled together because of immigration will start to peel off in significant ways.”

But, King added, “No one is quite sure about how this will play out and whether it’s truly what we worry it’ll be.”

Since there actually is no deal on DACA — and I’m skeptical there ever will be — I doubt the base is that perturbed. Many of them probably aren’t aware of any of this. We’re not talking high-information voters here. It’s also the case that a recent poll showed that only 15 percent of Americans favored deporting dreamers. This suggests that at least some Trump supporters are at least ambiguous about it. However, Huffpost reports a few are burning their MAGA hats.

Elsewhere in WaPo, we read that Republicans on the Hill don’t know what to do with themselves.

Despite their control of both chambers and with a GOP partner in the White House, congressional Republicans are laboring, sometimes awkwardly, to project leverage over efforts to rewrite the nation’s tax laws and craft a bill to decide the fate of hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants.

Some are privately fuming over the valuable political cover Trump is giving to centrist Democratic senators who are top targets in the 2018 midterms in states the president won. By negotiating with them and appearing at events together, the president is potentially easing their challenge of winning conservative voters.

I think a lot of people in media are making way too much of the “new,” supposedly bipartisan Trump. Along with being a bigot and a grifter, Trump is also a sucking black hole of emotional neediness. If Nancy and Chuck figure out how to exploit that to get some concessions here and there, grand. But nobody can be Trump’s friend, or at least not for long, without completely capitulating to the needs of his ego. So the Donald, Nancy and Chuck show can’t possibly last forever.

My impression is that Trump just wants to succeed at something, and he’s been thrashing around trying to find the magic formula that will enable him to do that. And he’s noticed that the Republican Congress isn’t getting anything done that he can sign and claim as an accomplishment so that he will be praised in the New York Times. He doesn’t know why, but it isn’t.  Maybe this bipartisan thing will work.

But his problem is that if he does something that pleases most Americans, the Right will turn on him like a rabid skunk. If he caters to the Right, he’s stuck with dealing with the whackjob Freedom Caucus in the House, and nothing gets done. He’s in a completely untenable place.