Donald Trump’s presidential campaign got off to a bombastic start, to say the least. Among the more memorable moments of his campaign was his announcement of a massive, 1,000-mile-long wall along the U.S.-Mexico border intended to reduce illegal immigration.
Touted as “big, beautiful and powerful” by its creator, perhaps the most controversial thing about it is Trump’s insistence on Mexico footing the quite hefty bill. Though the idea launched with much praise, support-as well as the possibility-of its construction is beginning to crumble.
Heavily affected by years of illegal immigration, it would be expected that border states such as Arizona would be among the staunchest supporters of the wall. The polls, however, say otherwise.
Will It Hold?
When asked about the wall’s hyped effectiveness, 47% of Arizona residents interviewed declared it “a waste of money”, while 34% believed it an “effective barrier”. The former findings are consistent with national opinion on the wall, with 49% nationwide echoing this sentiment. Furthermore, many doubt that Mexico will actually pay for the wall at all.
Even some of Trump’s most ardent supporters question the need for such an endeavor. A supporter from Phoenix agrees with the sentiment that illegal immigration is a pressing issue, the idea of a wall does not seem to be a sufficient solution.
What About The Money, Then?
The cost of this project has been projected to be astronomic: MIT Technology Review predicts that at the proposed dimensions of 50 feet tall, 1,000 miles long and 10 feet below ground, the price tag Trump’s wall runs at an estimated $38 billion.
With these in mind it’s no surprise that the wall had originally garnered much support, and that he consistently demands Mexico pay for the wall.
As of now, Trump has not backed down from charging Mexico for this colossal project. At least, not entirely. At a rally in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, Trump reiterated this insistence, but with a surprisingly lighter tone. This time, he proposed the End Illegal Immigration Act which would fully fund the wall’s construction, but continued “with a full understanding that the country of Mexico will be reimbursing the United States for the full cost”.
Where Trump’s Campaign Stands
This sudden inconsistency has drawn a wave of backlash from supporters and critics alike, including Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton: after not discussing Mexico’s payment plan during last Wednesday’s debate, she remarked that “he choked”.
In an attempt to placate Saturday’s audience, he repeated that Mexico would still pay for it. However, his efforts were met in silence.
These recent developments seem to be indicative of Trump’s slipping ratings, with Clinton leading in Arizona by 13.3 percent. Combine that with the fact that Arizona has not voted for a Democrat since 1952, and that state’s less-than-favorable view of the wall, and Trump’s campaign may be coming apart at the foundation.
Of course, we have until November to see if the Republican candidate can turn this around, and make his wall a reality.