According to analysis by the Washington Post's Ronald Klain, Donald Trump's sudden interest in proposing a multi-trillion dollar infrastructure package that the Republican leadership is opposed to is part of a masterplan to get himself re-elected and possibly fund his border wall that will please his rabid base.
As the columnist notes, Trump is a "simpleton" about how government works, but he is a master manipulator at making himself look good and if the Democrats help him pass a huge plan, he'll flood the states he needs to win in 2020 with tax dollars.
"Democrats began talks with Trump on infrastructure to position themselves as focused on getting business done and not all investigations all the time. They consider it low-risk, because they don’t think the president can come to an agreement on a package," he writes, adding that, should it come to pass, they will help Trump fulfill a 2016 campaign promise.
He notes that there are three ways working with Trump could come back to bite the Democrats.
"First, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) should be prepared for the likelihood that very little of the money would actually get to California or New York: Trump would crassly abuse his authority to allocate funding to reward donors with contracts and Trump-friendly states with funding," he writes.
The second pitfall will be how Trump will use the sudden influx of cash in such a way that he will fracture the relationship between the Democrats, labor unions and environmentalists by pitting them against each other.
"He will insist on 'project accelerating' provisions that vitiate critical environmental reviews," Klain explains. "He will boost road funding and slash funding for mass transit. And he will make Democratic leaders choose between provisions backed by labor and safeguards demanded by environmentalists. As always with Trump, his real goal will be sowing chaos among his opponents."
Lastly, the huge package will explode the national debt -- giving budget-hawk Republicans another weapon to slash social safety net programs since there is no way that they will approve a tax increase to pay for infrastructure.
As Klain warns, "Democrats who hand Trump an unfunded infrastructure plan could end up arming his minions with an ax to chop up everything else they hold dear."
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