Trump’s trying to portray himself as the Uniter-in-Chief following two devastating terrorist attacks over the weekend, but his proposal to marry firearm and immigration reforms into a single bill is a risky political gamble, though one that might ultimately pay off if the American people support him.
America is reeling after two devastating terrorist attacks over the weekend where mass shooters massacred over two dozen people in separate incidents on opposite sides of the country, with many people once again demanding that some sort of preemptive action finally be taken in order to hopefully stop horrifying incidents like these from ever happening again. The Democrats are predictably lobbying for gun control, while the Republicans are against any extreme measures being taken in this respect out of their devotion to the Second Amendment. Nothing ever usually changes after these sorts of killings because of partisan political impasses, but Trump has an innovative idea that involves tough compromises on both sides but might be exactly what America needs.
It’s a risky political gamble, but he proposed the marriage of firearm and immigration reforms into a single bill as part of his attempt to portray himself as the Uniter-in-Chief after these tragedies, seeking to finally push through his vision of fixing the US’ broken immigration system while also giving the Democrats some mild form of gun control in exchange for their support. To proverbially “sweeten the deal” with the Democrats, he also suggested the nationwide expansion of so-called “red-flag laws” that allow the authorities to remove guns from people whose behavior is indicative of someone who might possibly be plotting a terrorist attack like the two that transpired last weekend. Trump envisages that social media companies would also closely cooperate with law enforcement agencies in detecting people who the government should consider for forced disarmament.
Ordinarily, an idea such as this wouldn’t stand much of a chance of ever entering into law, but Americans are becoming very emotionally fatigued after all the mass shooting terrorist attacks that seem to be occurring ever more frequently and on an increasingly more lethal scale, so it’s entirely possible that they might back his unique efforts to finally get something done and resolve two long-standing problems — gun violence and illegal immigration — at the same time. That, however, would require serious compromises from both the Democrats and Republicans, which hold firm to their respective positions out of unwavering principle but might be pressured to moderate their views and meet in the middle ahead of next year’s elections that obviously played a part in influencing the timing of Trump’s proposal that he was evidently pondering for a while already.
The risk that each side would be taking is that their core base of supporters might feel like their favorite politicians sold them out by backtracking on their previously recalcitrant positions towards these two emotional issues, which could lead to voter apathy next year that reduces each party’s turnout. At the same time, though, voters on both sides of the aisle might become more energized in their support for their party of choice if they applaud their pragmatism in finally reaching a deal of some sort that results in tangible action being taken to address whichever of the two issues is the one that’s most important to them. It’s difficult to predict at this time what the average voter — whether in general, committed to a given party, or undecided — thinks about this and how they’d react, but forthcoming polls should give an indication, even if they’re somewhat skewed.
In terms of the bigger picture, it’s commendable that Trump is trying to make progress on these two issues in a way that necessitates a compromise from both parties in the interests of the “common good”, even though it’s clearly being done as part of a Machiavellian calculated risk ahead of next year’s elections. Whether one supports his initiative or not, the fact of the matter is that it’s the most pragmatic proposal at this time and should certainly be taken seriously by everyone. It’s obviously imperfect, but that’s the point, because it’s not intended to please everyone but to get them to think about the hard trade-offs that they’d have to make if they want something of tangible significance to be done. Trump’s known for taking political risks, however, and this one might ultimately pay off if the American people are behind him.
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Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.