Donald Trump’s presidency encourages a kind of policy sloth. Because Trump knows practically nothing about policies, including his own, and lies about them regularly, there is little to be gained from debating him publicly or negotiating with him privately. If Democratic leaders do work out an agreement with the White House, it’s liable to be tossed aside if Trump gets spooked by his base. Last year, with Republicans in charge of Congress, Trump rejected numerous offers for a border wall, with $20bn or more in funding, in return for providing a path to citizenship for Dreamers, the undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children. The $20bn figure was quite large; Trump is currently demanding $5.7bn. Releasing the Dreamer hostages was a top Democratic priority, and Democrats were willing to pay a heavy price for it. However, Trump’s most virulent supporters generally want to deport Dreamers, who are mostly non-white. So Trump bailed. Democrats will never again offer Trump $20bn...

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