Daca Disappointment

Republicans think Trump is going soft on immigration. They will devour him

Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ hats burned over Daca deal

Trump reneging on his campaign promises and rhetoric? I could have told you that 10 months ago.

I think Trump is doing a good job–good as in carrying out the perfunctory duties of President of the United States. The economy and country have not fallen apart, as so many on the left predicted would happen if Trump won. The S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and Nasdaq keep going up (I can’t complain about making $). Unemployment is low, exports high, consumer spending high, credit abundant, home prices rising, etc. That’s the good news. The ‘bad’ news (which I don’t think is that bad because, as I said before, it was excepted) is that Trump isn’t fulling his campaign promises and or is caving in–no wall, no mass deportations, no making Mexico pay for the wall, no unilateral pullout of the Middle East, no ‘bringing jobs back to America’, etc.


Despite writing a lot about politics, Ann Coulter seem to have little idea about how politics works. Trump’s cutting deals with democrats is expected because presidents typically have to seek compromise to get legislation through. Compromise means both sides get something, but less then they hoped for. This is just politics 101: candidates always talk a big game on the trail, but after winning dial it down–a lot.

NRx knows that politics and action mix like water and vinegar. People who read NRx blogs yet still think “I wish/hope/expect Trump would/to do more” or “Trump is a God-emperor” are unclear on the concept, or we’re doing an inadequate job conveying these concepts. Like the X-Files tagline “I Want to Believe,” we want to believe in the power of politicians, and if only we put the ‘right people’ in power, everything will work.

However, I disagree here:

By giving Democrats and child migrants what they wanted on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) program – and not getting a “beautiful” wall in return – Trump has further jeopardized his tenure in office.

Provided things don’t fall apart economically, Trump’s reelection is not in jeopardy even if he reneges on his promises.

There are two contrasting views: Scott Adams, who argues that Trump knows what he is doing and that such ‘blunders’ are calculated negotiation techniques, and then there is Ann Coulter and others who argue that the Trump presidency is falling apart and that Trump will lose. To some extent, both are right. Given Scott Adams’ track record for predicting politics, I have reason to believe Trump’s watered-down strategy is working in that Trump is sacrificing some pieces early on to win the long-game, yet even so, a lot of supporters may still feel betrayed by Trump’s backpedaling and compromise with democrats. George W. Bush won reelection despite many republicans, by the second term, being only lukewarm in terms of enthusiasm.

Already at a nadir for popularity, Trump must fend off attacks from his loudest supporters, and the prospects of a primary challenge in 2020. On Thursday Joel B Pollak, Breitbart’s senior editor, raised the specter of a contested nomination in less than three years. As Pollak put it, the Republican party could see “the emergence of a primary candidate from the right challenging Donald Trump”. It doesn’t get clearer than that.

Going by historical evidence, the odds of that are zero. No incumbent has never lost the nomination of his party. “Specter” and “It doesn’t get clearer than that” are contradictions.

At this juncture, Trump should take Pollak’s threat seriously, and ask George HW Bush what happened to him when he broke his one big campaign promise.


As the 1988 Republican presidential candidate, Bush had pledged that he would not raise taxes. As Bush accepted the Republican party’s presidential nomination, he told the assembled convention delegates and the country: “Read my lips. No new taxes.” By November 1990 the “pledge” was in tatters. To reach a budget deal and avoid across-the-board spending cuts, Bush had acceded to the Democrats’ demands for tax hikes.

That is a myth. He lost for two reasons: Bill Clinton was a superior candidate who had the charisma and appeal Bush lacked, and second, because the economy went into recession in 1991 (which was a big issue on the campaign trail). If the best the dems can offer are lackluster candidates like coughin’ Hillary, pocahontas Warren, and senile Sanders, and provided the economy does not enter recession, Trump should win.

Fast forward, and this time it is Trump who looks like he’s way over his skis, dining with Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Senate minority leader, and Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House minority leader – and then tweeting what appears to be the outline of a deal on child migrants. These days immigration is to the Republican base what taxes were to the party faithful back in the day.

Remember the Carrier deal? How many people know or care that it was a dud? Hardly anyone, and it has only been 10 months. At the time he announced the deal, it was good optics, but now it’s forgotten. In 2-3 years, come reelection, this too will be forgotten. Trump can run on building the wall if reelected. It’s not like his Democratic opponent can hold his inability to build the wall against him (and that’s why spoiler candidates are effective, by sowing doubt and dividing the vote). Even if voters are somewhat disappointed, Trump will still win, because he is better than the alternative.

To be sure, Trump’s current predicament is of his own making. Like Trump’s initial travel ban, his Daca somersault evidences a lack of serious consideration and anticipation. Of course, America was going to be upset over the possibility of 800,000 people being deported.

Lol it was a ‘ban’ that inconvenienced maybe 2 people out of 7 billion. Yes, really upset. That obviously explains why Trump’s anti-immigration platform was so successful.

But regarding immigration, the rise of PC authoritarianism at work, and the tendency of elites to keep winning, I think we’re living in “Facebook’s America” which is that regardless of whoever is in power, the future of policy, economics, and society is whatever is good for Facebook (and also Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Tesla, etc.). So just assume that if it’s bad for Facebook, it won’t happen (I think that a good heuristic both for investing and for policy). That’s why I hold my nose and remain ‘long’ Facebook (as well as Amazon, Google stock) because such an investment is a bet on techno-commercialism and IQ, and given that these five or so companies dominate the economy and also have enormous influence politically, is it not a surprise they are among strongest performers of the S&P 500.