The story of Donald Trump’s wall has so far been a story of … no wall. The best that Trump has managed was throwing up some hideous concertina wire over existing barriers—and watching much of it get stolen. Over and over, Trump has claimed that he has already built “hundreds of miles” of wall by taking credit for existing barriers, and using those existing barriers as examples to show how necessary it is to have more of the same.
The border is 2,000 miles long.
At a rate of $920 per mile, Trump’s border fence would cost $1.85 trillion dollars.
Only $1.8 trillion more than Trump’s estimate. https://t.co/TtbPOlyX2T
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) May 22, 2019
Still, taking credit for something that already existed seemed like a bit of a stretch. So naturally, in a series of Wednesday morning tweets, Trump simply stretched it further. The existing barriers were no longer the perfect wonders whose example served as a pretense for building more. And Trump’s slap of paint and loose wire is no longer an update; it’s now a “complete demolition and rebuilding of old and worthless barriers with a brand new Wall and footings.”
And just like that, Trump got hundreds of miles of beautiful, concrete, solid wall. It doesn’t exist, of course, but it doesn’t have to exist. Because the people Trump is selling on this fantasy are never going to check, never going to be convinced by anything said by the news media, never going to let their lying eyes get in the way of what Trump tells them. So this isn’t an old, worthless barrier. It’s a whole new wall! Oh yeah, and in the next tweet Trump says there is “tremendous work” on “pure renovation” of existing fences. Sorry, Walls. But it doesn’t matter. All of this just reflects the real nature of Trump’s border wall. Which is that it has no real nature. It’s simply whatever Trump says it is, and the whole country would be better off if he simply claimed the thing was complete and had a nice self-celebration in the Rose Garden, and the world got on with things that are more important.
Like Trump’s poll numbers. Which, Trump said on Wednesday, if it wasn’t for that pesky Witch Hunt, “would be at 65%.” Because sure. It’s only because of the Mueller investigation that some Americans are concerned about racism, xenophobia, pollution, corruption, a chaotic foreign policy, and the climate crisis.
It’s not really possible to say what Trump’s poll numbers would be like without the Mueller investigation—except it kind of is. Because the data from Civiqs has reliably shown that Trump’s base of support among older white voters concerned about “economics,” in the sense that they want to put other groups down, is remarkably consistent, and so is the opposition to everything Trump has done. Trump inherited a good economy from President Obama and—so far—hasn’t managed to complete wreck it, no matter how hard he has tried. And for that he’s getting all the credit he deserves. Which is pretty much none. Trump’s favorability today is where it was before there was a Mueller report.