The debt-ceiling “deal” from a week or so ago was a misnomer, since there wasn’t really any deal — Trump just gave Pelosi and Schumer what they wanted. This appears to be what Trump did Wednesday night on DACA as well. This isn’t dealing; it’s capitulating and then watching cable news for affirmation. The deal is so vague and confused maybe it won’t hold and the reception hasn’t been great on Capitol Hill. Mitch McConnell’s statement that he looked forward to seeing Trump’s legislative proposal was a typically understated way of saying, “Tell us at your earliest convenience when and if you get it together enough to know what your deal really is.”
All that said, there’s clearly a deal to be had on DACA. Trading a version of the DREAM Act for E-Verify would advance the ball considerably. But does Trump realize how important E-Verify is, and how much more important it is than the wall? This is why putting him in a room with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi is asking for trouble. He doesn’t know his brief well enough to cut deals on the fly with these two.
There’s a lot of talk about Trump losing his base over this. I doubt it, even if some of the more vocal Trump supporters in the media are outraged. One, a lot of Trump’s voters are more invested in Trump than in the niceties of immigration restriction. Two, the so-called Dreamers are a sympathetic subset of the illegal population. Three, more Republicans than you think want the two parties to work together (Allahpundit notes some of the polling here).
It’s still possible that this deal falls apart. But as I wrote earlier this week, if Trump really wants to work with Chuck Schumer it’s going to be harder, not easier, than working with Republicans. He’ll lose his shirt every time if he wings it. There are people in the administration who had a strategy in mind when Trump began the process of ending DACA, but the problem, as usual, has been the president. So far Chuck and Nancy are the only ones with reason to be pleased at his dealmaking skills.