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EDITORIAL: Trump, Democrats hunker down behind their own walls

So reflexively anti-Donald Trump is the rabid “resistance” that it’s no exaggeration to suggest the president could likely force congressional Democrats to abandon some of their most cherished policy positions simply by adopting them himself.

Mr. Trump on Tuesday took to the airwaves to make his case for the border wall, an issue that has triggered the latest government “shutdown.” His relatively brief address was intended to convince Americans that the project is vital to their safety and welfare.

“This is a humanitarian crisis,” he said. “A crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul. This is the cycle of human suffering that I am determined to end.”

Recall it wasn’t more than six months ago that Democrats and the resistance were apoplectic about the “crisis” at the border involving the separation of immigrant families. Liberal websites and media outlets used the term regularly. The president has now adopted similar rhetoric. The response: Crisis? What crisis?

“President Trump must stop … manufacturing a crisis,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, standing next to Chuck Schumer, in response to the president’s remarks.

Tuesday’s televised theater almost certainly did nothing to change anybody’s mind. Both sides have shoveled out their trenches and are hunkered down, more afraid of “losing” than reaching the obvious compromise. For the president, it’s a matter of fulfilling a campaign promise, something he clearly takes more seriously than most elected officials.

In fact, Democrats could get virtually everything they want on the DACA issue — and perhaps a few concessions on the matter of more comprehensive immigration reform — in return for agreeing to fund a small portion of the wall. Win-win. Yet they’re now so invested in opposing a project that just a decade ago many of them vocally supported that they’re willing to jettison other priorities.

Democrats argue that a wall would be wasteful and ineffective. They could be right. Fully completing the project would be infinitely more difficult than the president and his supporters admit. It surely wouldn’t completely eliminate the problem. But is there no symbolic value in telegraphing to those who believe they have a right to ignore U.S. sovereignty that the nation has decided to take border security seriously?

But if Mr. Trump has accomplished anything during this showdown, it’s to suddenly turn many Democrats into fiscal hawks. At least we now know of at least one federal endeavor that Democrats consider to be a waste of money. Perhaps that’s something to build upon.

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