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Trump unveils new border barrier (with spikes)

President Trump tweeted a design of a steel slat barrier that he proposes instead of a wall at the border to rally Senate Democrats to change their position ahead of a potential government shutdown.

Posted: Dec 23, 2018 2:06 PM
Updated: Dec 23, 2018 2:29 PM

First things first: The theme song of the week is the theme to "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.

Number of the week: A Quinnipiac University poll finds that 43% of voters support building a wall along the Mexican border. A majority, 54%, are opposed to such a wall.

If anything, the Quinnipiac poll is an outlier in favor of the pro-wall position. A CNN poll conducted earlier this month found that only 38% of Americans favored a wall, with 57% opposed. Either way, the average result is Americans clearly not wanting a wall.

What's the point: President Donald Trump and some congressional Republicans wanted a partial government shutdown because Congress has not passed a funding bill that allocates what Trump and some Republicans deem adequate money for a border wall with Mexico.

Trump and these Republicans seem to be doubling down on a belief that politics is all about the base. Trump really pushed for a partial shutdown only after getting hammered by conservative media. This bashing came following reports that he was not pushing hard for wall funding.

In this case, conservative media is representing the Republican electorate well. The Quinnipiac poll, for example, showed that 86% of Republicans wanted the border wall. Indeed, Trump won the Republican primary in 2016 in large part because of his tough immigration stance.

The problem is that national elections are not all about the base. Yes, the base is important, but it's also key to win over voters in the center of the electorate. Trump almost certainly needs to pick up the support of more voters if he is going to win in 2020. His overall approval rating remains in the low 40s.

The wall is exactly the type of issue that harms Trump's chance of becoming popular with the center. Last year, I looked at a slew of potentially controversial policy stances. The wall was the most polarizing. It is opposed by a majority of independents and by 90% of Democrats, according to Quinnipiac.

Don't believe me about the wall not being a political winner for Republicans? The midterm elections were just a test about whether Trump could use harsh immigration rhetoric to rally voters to his side. Immigration may have saved Republicans a deep red Senate seat for the Republicans, but in the House (where all voters got to cast ballots) it was a disaster.

According to a report compiled by David Winston, a Republican pollster, the focus on immigration instead of the economy resulted in late deciders breaking for the Democrats by double-digits points in 2018. Winston's findings line up with what Democrats saw in their own polling per the Washington Examiner's David Drucker.

Trump may like to believe that the midterm outcome was somehow not a reflection on his policies. Remember, though, that the 2018 midterm was the most presidential-centric in modern history. A higher percentage of those who approved of the President's job performance voted for the President's party than ever before in a midterm. A higher percentage of those who disapproved of Trump's job voted for the opposition party than ever before in a midterm.

The overall House result was that Democrats won a plurality of the vote in states, making up 329 electoral votes to the Republicans' 206. This calculation, done by Catalist, a data company that works with Democrats and others, importantly takes into account how seats where there was either no Democrat or no Republican on the ballot would have voted if there had been one. Democrats "won" a plurality of the House vote in almost all the swing states that Trump won in 2016, including Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

I wouldn't expect the shutdown to play out differently with regard to immigration. In the Quinnipiac poll, only 34% of voters favor a shutdown because of disagreements over funding for the wall. When asked who would get blamed for a shutdown, 51% said congressional Republicans and the President, compared with 37% who said congressional Democrats. A Suffolk University poll out this week came up with similar results.

The shutdown may please the base. It looks like a political loser overall, however. Perhaps more worrisome for Republicans, it doesn't look like Trump learned a single thing from Republicans losing in the midterms.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3055568

Reported Deaths: 34441
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles103280614122
San Bernardino2561091560
Riverside2504362645
San Diego2168352109
Orange2148082477
Santa Clara943661109
Kern86718565
Fresno82485968
Sacramento806781111
Alameda67952765
Ventura62101436
San Joaquin58290786
Contra Costa52965450
Stanislaus42882758
Tulare41867506
Monterey36126255
San Mateo32596309
San Francisco29321262
Solano25806106
Imperial25317465
Santa Barbara25083236
Merced24452308
Sonoma24068240
Kings19435145
Placer17380180
San Luis Obispo15929136
Madera13443151
Santa Cruz12298113
Marin11693157
Yolo10620131
Shasta9776122
Butte9474123
El Dorado782644
Sutter775478
Napa760140
Lassen519516
San Benito496343
Yuba495127
Tehama397142
Tuolumne338240
Nevada320673
Mendocino311432
Amador301631
Lake261230
Humboldt239324
Glenn193519
Colusa17339
Calaveras161723
Siskiyou144613
Mono11214
Inyo97429
Del Norte8662
Plumas5895
Modoc3853
Mariposa3464
Trinity3024
Sierra820
Alpine730
Unassigned00
Chico
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 57°
Oroville
Partly Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 53°
Chico
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 57°
Red Bluff
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 61°
Red Bluff
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 55°
Chico
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 57°
As expected, we had much quieter weather around northern California on Wednesday with plenty of sunshine, much weaker wind, and a wide range of temperatures. Thursday will be similar, but much more active weather is coming.
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