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.

Confirmed Cases: 113876

Reported Deaths: 3238
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7894177
DeSoto693279
Harrison512983
Jackson450384
Rankin389486
Madison381293
Lee351479
Forrest300778
Jones289184
Washington256499
Lafayette248343
Lauderdale2437134
Lamar224238
Oktibbeha200854
Bolivar200477
Neshoba1842111
Lowndes178362
Panola169139
Leflore165887
Sunflower160949
Warren154355
Monroe148172
Pontotoc146119
Marshall141229
Lincoln138957
Pike138256
Copiah136936
Coahoma124936
Scott124929
Yazoo121733
Grenada121638
Simpson121249
Union117425
Tate116039
Leake114640
Holmes114460
Pearl River112959
Itawamba112225
Adams107343
Prentiss104819
Wayne100821
Alcorn98712
George97918
Covington97026
Marion94642
Tippah88922
Newton85627
Chickasaw84026
Tallahatchie84025
Winston83321
Hancock81628
Tishomingo80041
Attala79026
Clarke74351
Clay68421
Jasper67917
Walthall63827
Calhoun62212
Noxubee59617
Smith59116
Montgomery54323
Claiborne53716
Tunica52917
Yalobusha52614
Lawrence51214
Perry48723
Carroll48012
Greene47318
Stone46414
Humphreys42816
Amite42113
Quitman4196
Jefferson Davis40511
Webster37013
Wilkinson33720
Benton3335
Kemper32215
Sharkey28314
Jefferson27510
Franklin2403
Choctaw2056
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 155915

Reported Deaths: 2674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22988375
Mobile16788315
Tuscaloosa10235140
Montgomery9978197
Madison922894
Shelby727463
Baldwin661569
Lee651765
Marshall437249
Calhoun422461
Etowah421450
Morgan407135
Houston371734
DeKalb336029
Elmore317353
St. Clair289142
Limestone279730
Walker275593
Talladega263635
Cullman239925
Lauderdale218042
Jackson212515
Franklin203231
Autauga203030
Colbert198731
Russell19283
Blount191125
Dallas186327
Chilton185832
Coffee173211
Escambia172230
Covington171429
Dale166551
Chambers134343
Clarke133617
Pike132713
Tallapoosa131387
Marion107129
Barbour10129
Butler100240
Marengo100222
Winston91913
Geneva8617
Lawrence83732
Pickens83618
Bibb82514
Randolph82016
Hale75830
Clay73612
Washington73412
Cherokee73114
Lowndes70428
Monroe64510
Henry6436
Bullock63917
Crenshaw60330
Perry5856
Fayette56913
Wilcox56412
Conecuh56013
Cleburne5518
Macon53020
Lamar4745
Sumter47221
Choctaw39012
Greene34216
Coosa2033
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