“Build the wall” started off as a mantra to get Donald Trump to focus his energy during rallies, while also advancing his image as a businessman who gets things done – and it quickly turned into a demented campaign promise that has yet to come to fruition. By the day, it’s also become symbolic of Trump’s string of failures as president, a result not too different from what he’s had in the world of business.
Despite his vow to finish the wall within his first hundred days as president, it’s still just as remote a possibility as it was when he announced his bid for the presidency in 2015. The only difference is how it’s become something of a liability. It’s been indirectly responsible for the longest government shutdown in history after right-wing pundits called him out for abandoning the project, and leading him to declare a national emergency that’s embarrassed the GOP and revealed how little they actually care about the military, as the Trump administration hopes to steal the money set aside for the families of those who serve in order to give Trump his racist monument.
Now, the wall is causing trouble for Trump yet again, at one of the worst possible times. He’s going into an election year as a historically unpopular incumbent, with a number of humiliating election losses in reliably Republican states, facing an impeachment trial, and a growing number of Republican politicians who would rather retire than run for re-election with Trump heading the ticket.
He’s already been caught tweeting fake pictures of the border wall – but now the administration is facing some new legal battles as they move to seize private property, with three new lawsuits filed in December alone. A number of the residents are refusing to sign anything, according to the Texas Tribune. While this is unlikely to end favorably for many of the residents, it’s clearly not a story Trump wants the media to pick up on ahead of 2020 – the government seizing private land to build a wall that has yet to be built is likely to discourage those in his already splintering conservative base – where he can’t even stand to lose a few percentage points. Even worse is that potential Republican candidates in 2020, like whoever runs to replace Rep. Will Hurd, will be forced to address this.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making