From Greg Sargent’s “Democrats must wage war against Trump’s lies. Here’s what they can do” at The Plum Line:
When they take over the House, they can use the oversight process not just to investigate Trumpian corruption and abuses, but also to try to restore facts, empiricism and good-faith information-gathering to a place in governing processes and debates…Even if a short-term deal is reached to keep the government open, Trump will continue demanding wall money, meaning that will remain a sticking point. So restoring facts and empiricism to the debate over immigration will be particularly pressing.
First and foremost, Democrats must use their majority to restore a reality-based conversation around the topic of how secure the southern border really is…Democrats have an opening. They should formally request that the Congressional Research Service do a comprehensive report on the current state of border security. This is exactly what the CRS is for.
…“This would be quite valuable, because it would come with the imprimatur of the U.S. government,” Josh Chafetz, a law professor at Cornell who wrote a good book on how Congress can use its powers in hidden ways, told me. “Part of the goal here is to give journalists something they can report,” Chafetz noted, and CRS reports are an underappreciated resource for the public as well, given that they are particularly “reader friendly.”
Sargent points out that “CRS would likely conclude that we’ve already dramatically beefed up border security, and that this has worked, with illegal border crossings now at historically relative lows.”
Sargent adds that “Democrats can also hold hearings at which Homeland Security officials are directly asked to testify to the state of border security. As it happens, a 2017 Homeland Security report found that the border is more secure than it has ever been, which also undercuts Trump’s wall rage-fantasies.”
“Well-staged, effectively presented truths can also go viral,” concludes Sargent. “Democrats should do all they can to make that happen wherever possible and get into the fight against Trump’s war on facts and empiricism wherever they can.”
It’s about Democrats getting more pro-active about shaping news coverage. Simply assuming the media will give appropriate coverage to the realities of border security doesn’t work. Bomb-thrower Trump may be the master of political distraction. But that doesn’t mean Democrats should make it easy for him.