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Trump unveils new border barrier (with spikes)

President Trump tweeted a design of a steel slat barrier that he proposes instead of a wall at the border to rally Senate Democrats to change their position ahead of a potential government shutdown.

Posted: Dec 23, 2018 4:13 PM
Updated: Dec 23, 2018 4:29 PM

First things first: The theme song of the week is the theme to "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.

Number of the week: A Quinnipiac University poll finds that 43% of voters support building a wall along the Mexican border. A majority, 54%, are opposed to such a wall.

If anything, the Quinnipiac poll is an outlier in favor of the pro-wall position. A CNN poll conducted earlier this month found that only 38% of Americans favored a wall, with 57% opposed. Either way, the average result is Americans clearly not wanting a wall.

What's the point: President Donald Trump and some congressional Republicans wanted a partial government shutdown because Congress has not passed a funding bill that allocates what Trump and some Republicans deem adequate money for a border wall with Mexico.

Trump and these Republicans seem to be doubling down on a belief that politics is all about the base. Trump really pushed for a partial shutdown only after getting hammered by conservative media. This bashing came following reports that he was not pushing hard for wall funding.

In this case, conservative media is representing the Republican electorate well. The Quinnipiac poll, for example, showed that 86% of Republicans wanted the border wall. Indeed, Trump won the Republican primary in 2016 in large part because of his tough immigration stance.

The problem is that national elections are not all about the base. Yes, the base is important, but it's also key to win over voters in the center of the electorate. Trump almost certainly needs to pick up the support of more voters if he is going to win in 2020. His overall approval rating remains in the low 40s.

The wall is exactly the type of issue that harms Trump's chance of becoming popular with the center. Last year, I looked at a slew of potentially controversial policy stances. The wall was the most polarizing. It is opposed by a majority of independents and by 90% of Democrats, according to Quinnipiac.

Don't believe me about the wall not being a political winner for Republicans? The midterm elections were just a test about whether Trump could use harsh immigration rhetoric to rally voters to his side. Immigration may have saved Republicans a deep red Senate seat for the Republicans, but in the House (where all voters got to cast ballots) it was a disaster.

According to a report compiled by David Winston, a Republican pollster, the focus on immigration instead of the economy resulted in late deciders breaking for the Democrats by double-digits points in 2018. Winston's findings line up with what Democrats saw in their own polling per the Washington Examiner's David Drucker.

Trump may like to believe that the midterm outcome was somehow not a reflection on his policies. Remember, though, that the 2018 midterm was the most presidential-centric in modern history. A higher percentage of those who approved of the President's job performance voted for the President's party than ever before in a midterm. A higher percentage of those who disapproved of Trump's job voted for the opposition party than ever before in a midterm.

The overall House result was that Democrats won a plurality of the vote in states, making up 329 electoral votes to the Republicans' 206. This calculation, done by Catalist, a data company that works with Democrats and others, importantly takes into account how seats where there was either no Democrat or no Republican on the ballot would have voted if there had been one. Democrats "won" a plurality of the House vote in almost all the swing states that Trump won in 2016, including Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

I wouldn't expect the shutdown to play out differently with regard to immigration. In the Quinnipiac poll, only 34% of voters favor a shutdown because of disagreements over funding for the wall. When asked who would get blamed for a shutdown, 51% said congressional Republicans and the President, compared with 37% who said congressional Democrats. A Suffolk University poll out this week came up with similar results.

The shutdown may please the base. It looks like a political loser overall, however. Perhaps more worrisome for Republicans, it doesn't look like Trump learned a single thing from Republicans losing in the midterms.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 259117

Reported Deaths: 5668
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17331186
Hinds16373328
Harrison13731199
Rankin10854217
Jackson10557187
Lee8922141
Madison8335166
Jones6483112
Forrest6038120
Lauderdale5965187
Lowndes5425118
Lafayette503193
Lamar490865
Washington4826124
Bolivar4024109
Oktibbeha397681
Panola374680
Pontotoc369855
Monroe3591105
Warren3569100
Union348063
Marshall347769
Neshoba3413152
Pearl River3329103
Leflore3059107
Lincoln299386
Sunflower288271
Hancock282559
Tate274362
Alcorn267454
Itawamba265260
Pike264679
Scott250847
Prentiss248252
Yazoo247356
Tippah244450
Copiah243949
Coahoma242254
Simpson238368
Leake232966
Grenada220671
Covington215072
Marion215073
Adams207870
Wayne203232
Winston202667
George201939
Newton195044
Attala194659
Tishomingo191661
Chickasaw185744
Jasper174438
Holmes169168
Clay161335
Tallahatchie148235
Stone145921
Clarke141762
Calhoun137621
Smith122725
Yalobusha119134
Walthall112836
Noxubee111423
Greene111029
Montgomery110136
Carroll105321
Lawrence103217
Perry102831
Amite98826
Webster93924
Tunica87421
Claiborne86625
Jefferson Davis85827
Benton83323
Humphreys83324
Kemper78420
Quitman6969
Franklin67115
Choctaw61213
Wilkinson58825
Jefferson55419
Sharkey44017
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 429655

Reported Deaths: 6283
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63040956
Mobile30794557
Madison27486201
Tuscaloosa20996268
Montgomery19352315
Shelby18833120
Baldwin16653184
Lee12749102
Morgan12389119
Etowah11861176
Calhoun11292201
Marshall10290113
Houston8746156
Limestone813276
Cullman8125106
Elmore7999104
DeKalb776599
Lauderdale768698
St. Clair7651121
Talladega6309108
Walker5954174
Jackson586341
Colbert539873
Blount537683
Autauga525755
Coffee450456
Dale402981
Franklin369948
Russell340711
Chilton338966
Covington332668
Escambia326043
Dallas308896
Chambers293170
Clarke287833
Tallapoosa2641107
Pike255230
Marion248953
Lawrence246649
Winston229535
Bibb218847
Geneva205446
Marengo202829
Pickens197531
Hale179542
Barbour176036
Fayette172928
Butler170858
Cherokee161930
Henry156523
Monroe149818
Randolph142135
Washington139126
Clay127645
Crenshaw121544
Cleburne119023
Lamar119021
Macon118637
Lowndes112036
Wilcox105121
Bullock101128
Perry99019
Conecuh95720
Sumter89626
Greene76623
Coosa61015
Choctaw51624
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