The party that suffers at the polls will be more likely to cave on DACA.
Over the past month, there’s been an unusual trend in Donald Trump’s approval rating: it’s gone up by a few points from its usually dismal status.
Now, does the new government shutdown that began at midnight put that improvement at risk? Or could it end up improving Trump’s rating even more?
As hackishly political as such concerns may seem, they’ll have real importance in determining how the shutdown fight plays out, and what the consequences will be for hundreds of thousands of unauthorized immigrants — since whichever party suffers at the polls will likely prove more likely to throw in the towel. And for now, neither party is certain how things will go.
Democrats point out that polls suggest the public overwhelmingly wants a deal helping Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipients, and they hope that the unpopular Trump will be blamed for failing to reach one. They think his much-covered “shithole” or “shithouse” comments are an easy-to-understand reason for the collapse of negotiations, and they hope the public will flat-out deem Trump and Republicans incompetent for failing to strike a deal.
Meanwhile, Republicans hope to paint Democrats as putting the interests of unauthorized immigrants above those of millions of Americans, in just the sort of racially and ethnically focused conflict Trump has often chosen to embrace. While DACA recipients may be sympathetic, Republicans think shutting down the whole government over them will be viewed as extremist. And they think Trump’s stated position here — funding the government while continuing talks on DACA program — will come across as entirely reasonable.