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A betrayal of GOP values

Melvin B. Miller
A betrayal of GOP values
“I certainly don’t want to lose my pay just to keep Central American farm workers out of the country.”

Republican leaders who tolerate Donald Trump’s obsession with building a border wall thereby impugn the integrity of the party’s basic philosophy. They are also responsible for inspiring Trump to consider violating the sacrosanct constitutional distinction between the authority of the president and
the Congress.

For decades Republicans have been known as fiscal conservatives. They categorically object to government spending. They opposed programs like Social Security and government financed health care primarily because of the expense. Income taxes on the affluent are necessary to fund the costs.

Trump insists upon spending more than $5 billion to build a wall along the open border with Mexico. The primary stated purpose was to prevent illicit drug traffic. However, according to present records, most drugs are seized at ports of entry along existing barriers and not through the open border. Democrats insist that there are much less expensive methods to intercept smuggling.

Unfortunately the Trump insistence on building the wall has become much more than a presidential concern about citizen safety at the southern border. After losing Republican control of the House of Representatives in the recent election, the battle over the wall enables Trump to demonstrate to his base that he still retains considerable power.

Trump’s obstinacy has induced him to shut down the government. While doing so, he has attempted to soften the reason for his stance in order to make the consequences more acceptable to his base. He has had to insist that his actions were to protect American citizens from the criminal conduct of illegal immigrants. He asserts that Americans have become the victims of drug dealers and the violence of the immigrants, so now, according to Trump, the issue has become a humanitarian as well as a security crisis. But data do not support the truth of that perspective.

This characterization of the political conflict might make the government shut down more tolerable for those who have not lost their pay checks, but it is a real test for those in Trump’s base who support white supremacy. Are they willing to pay the price for a wall that won’t prevent plutocrats from attracting immigrants to America by devising ways to employ them, even in violation of the law?

Now prominent Republicans are about to compromise another one of their most precious principles — the inviolable right of owning personal property. For years conservatives have protested against the right of government to seize private property under eminent domain. Numerous lawsuits against the seizures to build the existing fences are still unresolved in federal courts.

Many citizens will have their property taken to build Trump’s wall if his proposal goes forward. There is some question whether the wall is so essential for the safety of Americans as to justify such land seizures. Republicans will now permit the security of private property rights to be subject to political strategies.

Polls have indicated that the majority of Americans oppose building the wall. Nonetheless, the government shutdown has forced them to experience the inconvenience of conditions created by those who want the wall to prevent the entry of immigrants who are not white.

Support for the wall has destroyed the foundation of the Republican Party’s credo.

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