Nervous Republicans Looking Toward 2020 Hope Donald Trump's El Paso Visit Helps, Not Hurts

EL PASO -- President Donald Trump is visiting El Paso on Monday to discuss border security, a trip that could energize or traumatize Texas Republicans.For GOP incumbents and other 2020 candidates, Trump's visit is all about timing. At least it's not happening during general election season.The 2018 midterm elections were a referendum on Trump and his policies, including his controversial call to build a wall along the nation's southern border.In Texas, two powerful congressional incumbents backed by the president — Pete Sessions of Dallas and John Culberson of Houston — lost re-election contests. And despite his October rally in Houston, Republican incumbent Ted Cruz came within 2.6 percentage points of losing to Democrat Beto O'Rourke, a race that polls showed was firmly in hand before Trump's rally.Trump will be on the ballot in 2020, and Democrats again plan to make the election all about his actions and policies.While they don't have to send a jet to pick him up, Texas Democrats are happy about the president's visit."That tells you all you need to know," said veteran GOP political consultant Bill Miller. "The president is highly controversial and highly unpredictable. ... Some Texas Republicans will be holding their breath."Trump's trip comes as Congress is trying to strike a border security deal and avoid another government shutdown. The president has insisted that Congress fund some sort of border wall, though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a proposal that includes Trump's wall won't pass the House. Trump has been toying with declaring a national emergency and shifting funds to build the wall.His El Paso trip is designed to drum up public support for the wall, particularly with his steadfast, conservative base.Republicans hope Trump strikes the right tone Monday and takes steps to put the immigration issue to bed.As Miller points out, the political year has been dominated by talk about a wall and government shutdowns. Those issues are not ideal for the party in power. But Trump campaigned on building a wall, and he sees the immigration issue as a political winner with base voters.  Continue reading...

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