The Great Wall Of Trump? Texas Isn't As Sure As You Might Think
"A Cruz Administration will fulfill the promise Congress made to the American people almost 10 years ago by completing all 700 miles of priority fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border."
But Texas was a very different story. Trump won Texas' 38 electoral votes with a healthy 52.6% (4,681,590) to Clinton's 43.4% (3,867,816). Romney did better than Trump in Texas and Clinton did better than Obama. In 2012, the vote was 4,555,799 (57%) for Romney and 3,294,440 (41%) for Obama. Of Texas' 5 biggest counties, Clinton won 4:
• Harris Co: Clinton- 706,471, Trump- 544,960No, that's not the making of a Republican landslide. And I don't know the last time a Democrat won Fort Bend County (the state's 8th biggest) in the Houston suburbs but Clinton beat Trump there 134,475 to 117,212. There are 14 counties that touch the Mexican border. Clinton won 10 of them. Most of the 14 counties along the border are sparsely populated, but 4 of them actually have big populations-- and Hillary won landslides in each of them-- El Paso 69.1%, Hidalgo 68.6%, Cameron- 64.6% and Webb- 74.4%.
• Dallas Co: Clinton- 458,845, Trump- 261,865
• Tarrant Co: Trump- 345,683, Clinton- 288,001
• Bexar Co: Clinton- 319,191, Trump- 240,161
• Travis Co: Clinton- 306,475, Trump- 126,750
Surprised? After all, Trump promised to build a wall along the border. Texans, however weren't all that enthusiastic about it. The Texas Tribune polled all 38 Texans in Congress-- 27 Republicans and 11 Democrats-- and didn't find anyone offering a full-throated endorsement of a complete border wall. The Texas congressionals all favor beefed up security-- including fencing and walls in some places-- but no one shares Trump's vision for a virtually impossible wall from the New Mexico border to the Gulf of Mexico (although polling found that nearly 80% of the ignorant bigots who voted for Trump favor a wall).
Some Texas Republicans in Congress told the Tribune they backed building a wall but declined to clarify whether it should be a contiguous construction from San Diego to Brownsville. U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, believes Trump's support for a border wall is "an analogy," according to a spokeswoman.No Republicans want to come out against it, no matter how unfeasible it is, but most of them are tip-toeing around the issue. The state's senior senator, John Cornyn told South Texas radio station KURV "let’s complete the Secure Fence Act, which calls for roughly 700 miles of fencing along mainly in urban areas to prevent people from moving across, particularly drugs and human trafficking and the like. And then let’s enhance the technology that we need, the eyes in the sky, the UAVs and the like. And then let’s make sure that our men and women in green, the Border Patrol, have adequate troops and boots on the ground to get the job done, because if you see folks from the sky or if you see somebody climbing over a fence somewhere, you’re going to have to get a Border Patrol agent there to detain them. So, it’s going to be a combination."
No Texas Democrat that responded to the Tribune's survey offered support for a wall.
Among many Texas Republicans in Congress, the concept, while popular with the party's base, collides with another conservative tenant: eminent domain.
A wall would require the confiscation of ranching land near the Rio Grande, and several Texas Republicans expressed concern about the federal government taking away property-- often held by families for generations-- and the legal tangles that would inevitably arise from that.
Joaquin Castro (D) represents much of San Antonio. He said that building a wall "is a bad idea. It would stifle economic activity and drain money that’s badly needed to create jobs, fund schools, and repair beaten-up roads. The future of border security lies in manpower and smart technology, not medieval defenses."
Republican Will Hurd, who represents part of San Antonio and a bit of the El Paso area as well-- and barely won reelection against a weak and incompetent Democratic candidate last month-- told The Tribune that "building a wall from sea to shining sea is the most expensive and least effective way to do border security. We need to allow the men and women in Border Patrol to adjust their tactics, techniques and procedures as they see fit. You can’t have a one-size-fits-all solution. What works in San Diego doesn’t necessarily work in Tucson, and you need something different in El Paso. In heavily populated places a wall can be a useful tool. It’s just one more tool in your toolkit used to solve this problem."
Most of El Paso is represented by Beto O'Rourke (D) and he isn't having any of Trump's nonsense. He told The Tribune that "We're spending the record amount of $19.5 billion each year to secure our border, at a time that it has never been safer. Record-low levels of northbound apprehensions, El Paso the safest city in the country, and not a single terrorist or terror plot that has used our connection with Mexico to do us harm. Irrational, obsessive focus on the border will prevent us from stopping threats where they really exist and will waste precious resources that are needed elsewhere."
John Ratcliffe (R) told The Tribune that he supports increased manpower on the border, aerial technology and subterranean technology. "I’m in favor of a wall in places along the border, but anyone that has toured the entire southern border knows that in some places a wall will work and in some places it won't."
Last month Bill Flores (R) told the Dallas Morning News, "I’m not in favor of the wall, I’m in favor of an integrated system. It’s more than a wall." After Trump was elected he told The Tribune that "I fully support President-elect Trump’s national commitment to secure our borders. I believe we need an integrated system of border security, which consists of increased border security personnel; a physical wall where feasible; and a virtual wall including sensors, airborne resources, surveillance assets and related logistics."
Lloyd Doggett (D), who represents part of San Antonio and part of Austin, told The Tribune that he thinks "it makes no sense at all, and before it’s over, Trump’s most famous claim that he would build a wall that Mexico would pay for will dissolve."
Filemon Vela (D) was even more adamant about the silliness of Trump's campaign tactic. He wrote to Trump directly before the election: "You can take your border wall and shove it up your ass."