This evening Donald Trump will give a nationally televised speech in which he’ll declare a national emergency and use it to build his border wall, he’ll fire Robert Mueller and pardon everyone, and then he’ll pull out a magic wand and turn us all into leprechauns before riding off on a unicorn. None of that is within a million miles of being true, of course, but you’d be tempted to believe it all if you’ve spent the day listening to the wrong pundits.
Here’s what’s really about to happen. This evening Donald Trump will give an ineffective speech that won’t change a single mind about his border wall fantasy or his failed government shutdown, and within a day, the speech will have been forgotten. If he fills his speech with lies, which is nearly a given, no one outside his base will believe him. If he tries to declare a national emergency tonight, which is unlikely, the courts will immediately intervene, which means that such a declaration will have about as much real-world impact as if he declared that all giraffes now have to be taller.
Presidents only give nationally televised addresses about a partisan battle when 1) they realize they’ve already lost the battle, and 2) they’re too obsessed with the battle to simply lose quietly and move on. It’s a strategy that has a zero percent track record of success. We’ve seen various presidents try it on occasion, including the ones we like, and it didn’t work for them either.
So why are we hearing so much baseless fear mongering today? Simply put, it’s good for ratings. The pundits want you to remain glued to your television or your computer screen between now and the start of Donald Trump’s speech tonight, and the best way to do that is to scare the crap out of you. However, I’m not willing to play that game. Tonight’s speech is a complete nonstarter, as is anything Trump might try to implement tonight – and you deserve better than to be told otherwise.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report