• Trump will sign basically anything that he can claim includes “The Wall.”
• Trump would be effectively admitting defeat if he signs something that he can’t claim includes “The Wall”
• If Trump is on board with an immigration deal with the Senate, that will give cover for it to pass the Republican-controlled House.
• Most of the Republican voters who care about restricting immigration will take their cues from Trump if he says he got a wall from Schumer, and will be happy and encouraged regardless of what else is in the bill.
• Most of the Democratic voting base will be furious at Democrats that they did something to make Trump happy – especially on his signature issue – regardless of what else is in the bill. The “Resistance” will treat this as the equivalent of a deal with Hitler.
• The optics of a smiling Trump signing a bipartisan immigration deal will play well overall for Trump and Republicans, and will help defuse some of the most polarizing arguments against Trump.
• Schumer expects to have more leverage to extract better terms in 2019, given that the Democrats are universally expected, at a minimum, to gain seats in the House in November.
Dan concludes, “Now that both Schumer and Trump have declared the wall non-negotiable, one of them has to cave or there’s no deal – a situation that was completely predictable when Schumer made his announcement.”
I’ve been reading Dan for years and respect the heck out of him, but his take might be too generous to Schumer. It isn’t that he doesn’t have any plays to make, but I don’t see any — at least not yet — which overcome his essential bind:
• Democrats can’t deliver the immigration deal which their most energized voters demand, even to the point of protesting at Schumer’s home.
• Continued Democratic obstruction on immigration restrictions — which poll surprisingly well (surprising to Beltway types, anyway) — risks turning off the very same Obama-to-Trump voters who Democrats need to win back in November.
This is far from over and Schumer is a crafty Washington player, but for now it looks like a “bad” deal for Schumer might be better than no deal at all.