There are right now two large caravans of migrants are moving north from Central America. One caravan, of at least 5,000 people, is in Guatemala, and another group, of unknown size, moved north into El Salvador yesterday. Both groups have been organized with the clear intent of crashing the US border and demanding entry.
The US has put a lot of muscle into “persuading” the Mexican and Central American republics to try to stop and disperse the caravans before they get too close to the US border. The republics are stating their compliance but adding a raft of human rights considerations that the Trump administration would prefer to see ignored.
This has all blown up quickly as a crisis and the desperate Republicans will not fail to take advantage of the highly fortuitous timing just before mid-terms they are certain to lose. Tax cuts, judicial reform, and, most publicly and constantly, immigration were and are the only priorities of the Trump people. And now we have an immigration crisis coming from the very people Trump has spent years obscenely excoriating. And a crisis resolution amenable to brute force.
If Trump — Stephen Miller and John Bolton by his side pulling the strings, and the mega-donors sagely nodding — ordered the US military to stop and disperse the caravans using whatever force was felt appropriate, his base would explode with enthusiasm, especially if violence was actually required to turn away the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
I can see him now, in a huge arena, military hardware as a backdrop, announcing the number of dead and mangled bodies they had counted that day — (who else remembers the daily kill counts served up on network news every night in the late 1960s and 1970s?) — and smiling, tossing his arms high in the air in self-celebration. The GOP will fall behind him with smarmy patriotic fervor. And they will do better than they might have hoped in the mid-terms on the basis of the base flocking to the polls behind their Man, and Trump gets all the credit.
That at least would be the hope of the October Surprise.
With the influence of the people around him, amplified by his limited range of focus, I fear that they might give it a shot. And I fear more for the result.