Schumer to Trump: Abandon the wall

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) repeatedly called out the "Trump shutdown" as he spoke on the Senate floor.

Posted: Dec 24, 2018 7:04 AM
Updated: Dec 24, 2018 7:33 AM

President Trump has shut down the government over his failure to obtain funding for a wall across America's border with Mexico. He says it's about "border security," but the reality is far more disturbing.

Trump's wall is "deeply rooted in xenophobia," Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, explained Thursday on my SiriusXM radio show. Omar, who will make history as both the first Somali refugee and the first Muslim-American female to wear a hijab in Congress, added, "there are folks on the right, political pundits on TV shows talking about how immigrants make this country dirty and poor and more dangerous." (She was referring to recent inflammatory comments about immigrants by Fox News' Tucker Carlson.)

Omar is correct. Trump's wall is about an irrational fear of outsiders -- but it's about more than that, too. Trump's wall is designed to address a key concern of his base: the browning of America. Bluntly, Trump's wall, if built, will likely be the largest and most expensive monument ever constructed to try and ensure the demographic supremacy of white America.

True, a massive wall that climbs 32 feet in the air, as Trump has discussed, and spans thousands of miles could provide some degree of border security. But then again, so would stationing US troops -- in locked arms -- across the border, or building a massive "Game of Thrones"-type ice wall. The question is what is the most effective in achieving that goal -- especially since Trump wants us to pay for it after he failed to get Mexico to bear the cost, as he had previously promised.

This past week, Republican Rep. Will Hurd from Texas, a former CIA agent, slammed the "fallacy that a wall equals border security." He explained, "I have more border (in my district) than any other member of Congress, 820 miles," and added that we can use available technology to keep us far safer than a wall. Hurd closed with a key point: "Building a wall from sea to shining sea is the most expensive and least effective way to do border security."

But Trump refuses to accept that technology suggested by people like Hurd and others will address the problem. Instead, Trump on Sunday took to Twitter to mock that very concept, writing, "Drones and all of the rest are wonderful and lots of fun," he wrote, but the "only way to stop drug, gangs, human trafficking, criminal elements" is by building a "good old fashioned Wall" -- or, perhaps, a "Steel Slat Barrier."

Hmm, whom to believe? A serial liar like Trump, or a former CIA operative who now represents a district along the Texas border?

For me, the choice is clear -- not only given Trump's track record, but because statistics also undermine his claims. First, despite what Trump wants you to believe, studies make it clear that immigrants, both undocumented and those legally here, are "considerably less likely to commit crime than native-born citizens." One study, conducted by the Cato Institute, found that "as a percentage of their respective populations, there were 56% fewer criminal convictions of illegal immigrants than of native-born Americans in Texas in 2015."

On top of that, illegal border crossings are currently at their lowest levels since 2000. And nearly two thirds of those now in the country illegally are here because they overstayed their visas after arriving via airports, while others even came over the northern border from Canada. A massive southern border wall obviously won't address this.

These facts are likely why polls consistently find a solid majority of Americans oppose building a wall, including 66% of independent voters, according to a recent CBS News poll. Even Texans oppose the wall. In a Quinnipiac poll, 61% were against it, while only 34% favored it.

But not Trump's base. A November poll found that nearly 80% of Republicans want the wall built.

Why this overwhelming support? It boils down to what actually motivates the base. Studies after the election found that many Trump supporters did not have "economic anxiety," as some in media had previously reported. Rather, they were concerned with a "loss of status," or more accurately, "white anxiety" over changing demographics. As one study at the University of Pennsylvania noted, Trump voters feared "a threat to their group's dominance in our country over all."

Trump's wall is a perfect symbolic panacea for those people fearful of demographic change. Sure, it may not actually work as hoped, but it will likely give them some comfort.

It's also likely Trump shares their concerns, given his reported comments that he doesn't want immigrants from Africa and Haiti, which he deemed "shithole" countries, and prefers people from Norway, a predominately white nation. With comments like those, it's no wonder that some white supremacists support this President.

Border security is a bipartisan issue -- Democrats and Republican both want it. So, if Trump truly wants to keep America safe, he would use technology that is both effective and cost efficient. But if his real fear is changing demographics and he wants to give phony reassurance to his base voters, then the only option is a "good old-fashioned Wall."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 479326

Reported Deaths: 9353
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32779484
Hinds30924582
DeSoto30319353
Jackson23542341
Rankin21235366
Lee14803219
Madison14120271
Jones13327223
Forrest13078236
Lauderdale11501303
Lowndes10377176
Lamar10163130
Pearl River9008217
Lafayette8193137
Hancock7404111
Oktibbeha6909122
Washington6900150
Monroe6459159
Neshoba6441201
Warren6387163
Pontotoc623093
Panola6203125
Bolivar6072144
Marshall6068121
Union571386
Pike5574135
Alcorn533289
Lincoln5283131
George466072
Scott454796
Leflore4444140
Prentiss443377
Tippah442180
Itawamba441599
Adams4376116
Tate4327101
Simpson4313112
Wayne430766
Copiah429587
Yazoo419686
Covington413292
Sunflower4123104
Marion4073104
Leake395486
Coahoma391098
Newton367274
Grenada3543104
Stone350359
Tishomingo333288
Attala324286
Jasper313162
Winston303091
Clay294173
Chickasaw286265
Clarke279890
Calhoun263940
Holmes261387
Smith248048
Yalobusha219647
Tallahatchie217550
Walthall209958
Greene206845
Lawrence205732
Perry198553
Amite197651
Webster195042
Noxubee177739
Montgomery171654
Jefferson Davis167442
Carroll161437
Tunica150834
Benton141533
Kemper138039
Claiborne126134
Choctaw126026
Humphreys125937
Franklin116328
Quitman103426
Wilkinson101536
Jefferson87333
Sharkey62320
Issaquena1926
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 778549

Reported Deaths: 13665
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1105871747
Mobile704651206
Madison49152610
Baldwin35946479
Shelby35796302
Tuscaloosa33410532
Montgomery32906672
Lee22231216
Calhoun20791397
Morgan19605326
Etowah18837449
Marshall17465272
Houston16452368
St. Clair15233293
Limestone14376182
Cullman14348246
Elmore14241256
Lauderdale13298278
Talladega12699230
DeKalb12036233
Walker10430323
Autauga9568133
Blount9555152
Jackson9235146
Coffee8728169
Colbert8426179
Dale8410170
Escambia6526114
Tallapoosa6501172
Covington6396163
Chilton6293141
Russell598555
Franklin5719100
Chambers5315133
Marion4734115
Dallas4665182
Clarke457076
Pike456294
Geneva4315116
Winston417192
Lawrence4086108
Bibb401680
Barbour341968
Marengo323183
Butler314988
Monroe314652
Pickens300470
Randolph299955
Henry298356
Hale289383
Cherokee284652
Fayette275672
Washington244848
Crenshaw235168
Clay225163
Macon217657
Cleburne217149
Lamar192140
Conecuh179646
Lowndes170158
Coosa166432
Wilcox155736
Bullock147742
Perry136036
Sumter124136
Greene120142
Choctaw72826
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Columbus
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Oxford
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Canadian high pressure will continue to build into our area over the next few days. This will bring into our area some of the coolest air of the season so far. Some folks will see overnight lows down into the middle to upper 40s.
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