President Donald Trump's latest ploy to punish Democrats who use their power to defy him is the most recent example of his "govern by sabotage" way of doing business.
New York Magazine columnist Eric Levitz noted in a Friday editorial that the president's admission that he is indeed considering busing undocumented migrants from the US-Mexico borders into so-called "sanctuary cities" to punish the "Radical Left" is just another example of his attempts to strongarm his political opponents into getting in line.
"The president is ostensibly threatening to deliberately inflict harm on Americans who live in areas controlled by Democrats until a coequal branch starts taking his marching orders," Levitz wrote. "And, in this respect, Trump’s proposal to release immigrants in sanctuary cities (i.e., cities that do not fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities) isn’t anything new."
The columnist noted that at the beginning of his administration, Trump "threatened to deliberately sabotage America’s individual insurance market until Democrats agreed to support repealing and replacing Obamacare."
He then carried out the threat to cancel the government cost-sharing subsidies for low-income insurance while also doing even more to undercut the Affordable Care Act in spite of it still being on the books.
He did it again, Levitz noted, a few months after the Trump administration's first Obamacare debacle, the president canceled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program without giving a reason and disingenuously claiming that he supported it. He later admitted to Politico that he canceled DACA so that he could use its recipients as bargaining chips to get Democrats to come to the table.
Levitz then pointed out perhaps the most overt action in Trump's rule-by-sabotage playbook — his enacting of the longest government shutdown in history "in a doomed attempt to force Nancy Pelosi to fund his border wall."
"At one point, the president suggested that he had the upper hand in the shutdown fight because 'most of the workers not getting paid are Democrats,'" the writer noted.
"Trump’s sanctuary-cities proposal is consistent with his broader approach to governance over the past two years," Levitz concluded. "It is perhaps more audacious — and arguably illegal — than his previous attempts to leverage his nihilism into concessions from Congress."