The Trump Base Is Hitting a Wall
I ran in an election once. Each candidate had to give a speech before the assembled student body. During my speech, I referred to the low pressure in the school water fountains, eliciting titters from the crowd.
I won the election but I got my comeuppance about a month later. A student passing in the hall asked, “How are you doing with those water fountains?” I hadn’t done anything. In fact, I knew when I’d said it that I couldn’t get those fountains fixed. I’ve harbored a certain cynicism about elections ever since.
The memory brings me to Ann Coulter, the chronically skeptical conservative commentator who led the charge for Citizen Trump. He had her the moment he glided down his gilded escalator, railing against Mexican rapists and promising to build a Wall – a Big, Beautiful Border Wall — and get Mexico to pay for it. Coulter is now a Former Trumper because he is not fulfilling his promise to build a wall. She and her cohort were the voters who forgave him all his character deficits and vulgarity. They’d walk through a wall for him if only he would build it. Ann Coulter tells Trump that his base will abandon him if he fails to build his Wall.
During her interview with long-time sparring partner Frank Bruni, Coulter expressed her growing disaffection. “He had absolute, rock-solid, locked us in, on support [sic] because we thought we wouldn’t be betrayed — finally. He could sell Ivanka Trump merchandise from the Oval Office if he would just build the Wall. If he doesn’t have us anymore — no, that’s what he should be worried about because, you play those people for suckers, the ones who stood by him through thick and thin, and thought this was finally something different. Finally we have a politician who wasn’t going to lie to us. No, former Trumpers should put the fear of God in him.”
The sad-faced Coulter looked like a vampire at dawn who could not find the keys to her crypt. She elaborated on what she has coined, “Former Trumpers,” registering her utter disappointment.
“Don’t act like I’m a nut for wanting a wall. That was the chant at every rally. I didn’t make this up…I promise you we want a Wall. We don’t care who pays for it.”
The constitutionally acerbic Coulter has been around long enough to know Trump’s playbook, and she’s nobody’s Pollyanna. She wouldn’t be gulled by his wacky campaign promise. She’s speaking for the Trumpers, those people who don’t care who pays for it. She’s signaling Trump that his base is slipping.
Trump heard the drumbeat. That’s why he exploded with tweets this morning accusing Democrats of killing the DACA deal, the one he agreed to make and later reneged. He’s accused Mexico of allowing Central American migrants to pass through the country and across the border. In fact, despite Trump’s hawkish immigration policy, the number of people crossing has reached the same level as it was at its peak in the Obama era.
Coulter also must realize that her man’s Congressional support is flagging. He had his best chance to get his wall funded within the first 100 days of his term. It was a double bumble. Not only did he fail to make the Wall the first item on his agenda, but he and his party also squandered their pledge to repeal Obamacare by trying to ram a terrible health care bill down America’s throat.
He managed to get only $1.3 billion for the Wall in the recent spending bill. That’s enough to cover the design and scale modeling, assuming they don’t go hog-wild on the dining room set. It’s not going to cover the cost of building a Beautiful Border Wall, unless in his classic form, Trump stiffs the contractors. So there is not going to be a wall this year, and next year is not looking too good. He and Coulter had to know it. They must have thought that his supporters wouldn’t notice.