Nervous Republicans looking toward 2020 hope Donald Trump’s El Paso visit helps, not hurts  | Commentary


Republicans on the ballot next year, including in Texas, want a resolution to the issue.

“He’s obviously trying to get a positive outcome legislatively, while maintaining a stronghold on his base,” said Republican political consultant Matt Mackowiak. “To the extent that he can make the debate about border security and not a quote, wall, he’ll be on stronger ground.”

Mackowiak said Trump’s performance is important, especially after the midterm elections.

“Republicans are looking at the results from last November and they recognize that Texas is competitive,” he said. “Republicans don’t want 2020 to be about immigration, but maybe the White House does.”

Whatever the case, Trump must be “restrained, disciplined, factual and specific,” Mackowiak said.

If Trump can provide a specific border security plan with specific details about where a wall makes sense and how much it would cost, a road to a compromise with Democrats would be easier. The eighth wonder of the world-type wall that Trump proposed on the campaign trail is a non-starter. And by now, everyone knows Mexico is not going to pay for it, as Trump promised.

But Trump has correctly noted that there are places along the border where barriers exist and make sense. He could present a comprehensive plan based on facts, data and actual cost estimates. That would help Republicans like Will Hurd of San Antonio, who represents 820 miles of the border between San Antonio and El Paso. He’s against Trump’s wall as proposed.

Illegal border crossings are down 80 percent since 2000, though Hurd has said there were 400,000 illegal border crossings last year, a high number. There’s also a concern, outlined by Trump and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, about violent gangs, drug smuggling and human trafficking. All of that could be stamped out with effective border security.

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Because the unemployment rate is so low, America needs immigrant workers for all sorts of jobs, from tech to the service industry. Controlling the border, Republicans say, would lead to the implementation of a temporary worker program and other initiatives to help companies fill jobs.

There are areas of compromise, if only the wall talk could be translated into something that’s feasible to all the parties involved.

Trump’s base loves it when he talks about curbing illegal immigration and building walls. But the quicker he puts that issue to bed, the faster he can get going on plans to repair the nation’s infrastructure, bring down prescription drug prices and create jobs for the poor and middle class.

Under Trump’s watch, the economy has improved, he’s successfully pushed criminal justice reforms and he’s started a dialogue with North Korea to stop it from developing nuclear weapons.

Despite his bombastic nature and the looming investigations into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 elections, Trump has things he can sell in 2020.

To do that, he must get past the red-meat issues that brought him success on the 2016 campaign trail but could doom Republicans next year.

We’ll see Monday if Trump wants to stay with what he feels is the tried and true, or begin the process of expanding his base and helping the GOP avoid disaster.





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