President Donald Trump gave a strong State of the Union speech which exposed as never before the existential conflict brewing within what used to be our country. Angry and sullen Democrats refused to applaud mentions of economic growth, better conditions for African-Americans, crackdowns on criminal gangs and even God.
By drawing a contrast between the GOP and a Democrat party now entirely defined by its fanatical dedication to replacing the American people, President Trump established a claim for the Republicans as the party of National Conservatism, the party which would defend the interests of American citizens. He also scored a major rhetoric victory by defining Americans as "dreamers too," refusing to concede the moral high ground to Democrats.
But.. there were some troubling parts as well. First, a sin of omission. President Trump did not mention the proposed tax on remittances, blowing a priceless opportunity to redefine the immigration debate and force the Democrats on the defensive about how to pay for the border wall.
Trump also gave away the store on DACA.
The president called on Republicans and Democrats to work toward a compromise on illegal immigration, calling on lawmakers to include a path to citizenship for up to 1.8 million DREAMers who "show good moral character."
He said the compromise should include an end to chain migration and the visa lottery program.
[Americans Are Dreamers Too: Trump Calls for Immigration Compromise, Elicits Boos from Some Observers, Fox News, January 30, 2017]
The problem, as many commentators point out, is that any restrictions or loopholes will be ripped even farther open by the courts. Enforcement needs to come before any discussion of amnesty. As then candidate Trump said, "the cycle of amnesty" must be broken.
What a court did just yesterday on immigration demonstrates why there is no way any amnesty first approach can ever work. Will grind ALL deportations to a halt, including many criminal aliens.— Daniel Horowitz (@RMConservative) January 31, 2018
But, given how the Democrats actually booed any mention of ending chain migration (a term which they now regard as racist), it's unlikely any such "compromise" will be reached. Which means President Trump may move swiftly to infrastructure (another goal he alluded to during the State of the Union) and then run on immigration in the midterms. The resulting battle in 2018, into the political headwinds of united media opposition and the increasingly insane "Russian collusion" investigation, may make the Great Meme War of 2016 look like a skirmish.