Opting for governance over grievances seldom finds favor within Donald Trump’s Republican Party, a lesson becoming painfully apparent for Oklahoma’s James Lankford.
The senator, known for producing the Senate’s most conservative immigration plan, now faces the unraveling of his deal only a day after its introduction, as Trump issues a foreboding warning about its impact on Lankford’s political future.
Trump’s comments on The Dan Bongino Show have sent shockwaves through Washington, prompting a quick recalibration of political interests among GOP senators.
By evening, a majority of Senate Republicans were either leaning against the immigration plan or were resolved to vote it down, making a filibuster-proof majority seemingly unattainable, according to sources.
Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi declared the proposal dead, a sentiment echoed by House Speaker Mike Johnson, spelling doom for the deal in the GOP-controlled House.
The standoff over the southern border crisis highlights Trump’s mounting influence as he nears the Republican nomination. He actively seeks to undermine any Washington action that might alleviate President Joe Biden’s immigration challenges, aligning with his political strategy that thrives on using immigration as a polarizing force.
Trump’s penchant for fostering chaos has extended to GOP infighting, jeopardizing action on major issues facing Congress, including continued US military assistance to Ukraine. Immigration, a central issue for Trump, remains a driving force in his political movement.
Despite the House GOP’s move to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over immigration, there is little appetite within the party for a bill that could be in the national interest but may alienate the influential ex-president.
The conservative Border Patrol union’s support for the bill has not swayed Republicans, who find it more convenient to label it as “amnesty,” a term that has historically sabotaged immigration compromises in Washington.
In a party increasingly aligned with conservative media and Trump’s political style, the allure lies in following Trump’s lead rather than seeking bipartisan compromises.
Lankford is not the only high-profile Republican discovering the hazards of attempting to forge conservative solutions in a party increasingly captivated by Trump’s whims.
Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s efforts to avert a federal government shutdown last September by relying on Democratic votes backfired, leading to his political downfall, despite cozying up to Trump, McCarthy’s choice for governance over grievance proved unpopular within a party increasingly rejecting political compromise.
While Lankford, reelected to a new six-year term in 2022, may be more secure than McCarthy, faces a similar dilemma. His attempt at compromise, even one aligning with Republican demands, seems futile, with Trump’s political influence taking precedence over the nation’s needs.
Lankford’s commitment to solving the border problem clashes with Trump’s focus on running for president, highlighting the tension between governance and political posturing within the Republican Party.