The Unpersuasive President

By David Frum

“Presidential power is the power to persuade.” So wrote the famous student of presidential power, Richard Neustadt, in 1960.  

This is one power that Donald Trump has never appreciated. President Trump uses words often and uses them spectacularly: to mobilize his core followership, to bully and belittle opponents, to tweet his hurts and grievances. What he does not do is argue a case to change minds and gain consent.

That gap in the presidential repertoire of power was on view in last night’s State of the Union address—and especially in its core policy argument, Trump’s case for his latest immigration-reform proposal.

Trump has moved far and fast on immigration. He is now proposing a path to citizenship for the DACA population, people who entered the United States illegally as minors. He has extended the deadline to qualify for the program, boosting the estimated beneficiaries from 800,000 to potentially 1.8 million. While he suggests remaking the immigration system so as to curtail the right of new immigrants to sponsor relatives—putting an end to the sponsorship of siblings, nieces, nephews—that change would not go into effect until all the 4 million people who have already applied have entered the country, a process that critics warn could take as long as 17 years.

The only change in the direction of immigration restriction that would go immediately into effect is the end of the diversity visa lottery. Yet even this move will not reduce America’s total immigration intake: the 50,000 to 100,000 slots at issue would be reallocated to speed the entry of the 4 million relatives in the sponsorship queue.

In other words, if Trump’s proposal were accepted, his first term would feature the biggest immigration amnesty since 1986; no near-term reduction in numbers; and the tilt of the whole system even further in favor of …read more

Via:: The Atlantic


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