Every time conventional Beltway wisdom congeals as quickly as it did on Tuesday – this time around, the certainty that President Donald Trump had blundered terribly in saying he would in effect “own” any government shutdown over border security funding – analysts ought to think back to the stunned silences around many newsrooms on Election Day in 2016.
Rarely have so many abjectly incorrect experts shrugged off their face-plants of recent vintage to return to high degrees of certainty in so short a period of time. It’s the same class of talking heads that didn’t see 2010 coming, or 2014, or who think they can claim there was a “blue wave” even though Republicans increased their Senate majority by two.
Still, this is the business predictors have chosen, so they have to predict. A contrarian view is anchored by Gov. Doug Ducey’s, R-Ariz., galloping victory in his reelection bid last month. Ducey talked about border security almost every day during his romp in “purple” Arizona. Not about illegal immigration, but always about border security and about keeping Americans safe from drugs, cartels and human trafficking.
Because more than 70,000 Americans died from overdoses in 2017, millions of people have at least brushed up against fentanyl or other opioids, and have often been terribly scarred by it. Some may know most of these killer drugs come via the mail, but they also know it flows like a vast river northward from the Mexican state of Sinaloa, and with it mayhem and death.
Border security isn’t about the “dreamers” or hard-working undocumented people living for decades in the United States. It’s about security. And Trump has declared he is for this security, is willing to engage in budget brinkmanship to obtain it, and is staking the first confrontation in a two-year battle with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on it.