Andrew Sullivan thinks T. should get his wall. In New York Magazine, he writes that ‘we’ should —
… give him his fucking wall. He won the election. He is owed this. It may never be completed; it may not work, as hoped. But it is now the only way to reassure a critical mass of Americans that mass immigration is under control, and the only way to make any progress under this president.
But here’s the thing: immigration is under control. Historically, the numbers of illegal crossings aren’t at any comparable level to what they were in the past (so I’m at a bit of a loss as to where Sullivan got the idea that immigration is “far greater in absolute numbers than any previous period at all.”) Immigrants do not make up a majority of any workforce in America.
Therefore, the idea of giving Trump his wall is to exacerbate a problem that doesn’t exist while joining the symbolic ranks of Germany, Israel, and Palestine. To give him a wall will probably make illegal immigration worse — with a variety of dire consequences attached to it, too: it won’t stop smuggling (which isn’t being tackled right now because resources are being diverted to pursue family separation); it will probably have a negative economic impact on the lives of 100 million-plus people, and more.
There are a few other things I’d take issue with in his article — i.e., the use of the word ‘appearance’ here —
At some point, the GOP will need to drop the appearance of bald-faced racism, callousness, and brute force, if they are to survive anywhere outside their base.
— as if Steve King was play-acting when he posted a photo of a beer to celebrate the expulsion of a Dreamer who was a valedictorian — but I wanted to move on to his written thread of a defense on Twitter, where he writes —
— and that’s good! To believe in those things is to believe in the right things.
The problem here is that this assumes that T. isn’t interested in causing racist pain — not only to gin up his base, but because he personally likes it. And he is — and he does. Or, to put this another way: over the course of two years in the political spotlight, he has yet to present evidence that he isn’t interested in doing this, even if it’s something that happens compulsively (i.e., his comment to April Ryan regarding the Congressional Black Caucus.)
The question of the wall is in some ways irrelevant —if there is no wall, T. will find another way to try and propagate dismissive racist pain (this being something that animates him, something that — yes — he sometimes pursues compulsively, and something that — to a certain degree — delights him); if there is a wall, T. will try and find a way to do all this again. Hence the travel ban. Hence family separation. Hence loads losing TPS. Hence whatever he does next.
It’s good to believe in politics and compromise, but Andrew’s assessment isn’t as accurate as it otherwise could be.