With Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler coming out in favor of keeping Portland a sanctuary city (i.e., one whose police don't treat being undocumented as a crime), how much money will we lose if Donald Trump keeps his promise to "defund" such cities? —Sasha S.
Trump's election has come to be seen primarily as a triumph of white identity politics. In this view, disaffected white nationalists, terrified by an increasingly multicultural America, rebelled by electing someone—unlike the last guy—they could identify with.
However, you can also see Trump's ascendancy as a triumph of stupid-person identity politics: disaffected stupid people, terrified that they might be asked to pay attention, or even read something, rebelled by electing someone—unlike the last guy—they could understand.
This could explain why Trump did better among blacks and Latinos than Mitt Romney in 2012—dumb sees no color! It also helps us understand the expectations of Trump's supporters.
To these folks, being president is like owning your own auto body shop. They assume that, if he wanted to, the president could unilaterally close Guantanamo, repaint Detroit, or force the governor of Kansas to detail his car.
So, Sasha, while plenty of folks assume the president can just refuse to cut Portland's weekly check*, like Mr. Brady cutting off Greg's allowance, you and I understand that your question is shorthand for, "What programs could Trump persuade Congress to defund in a way that would survive a court challenge?"
Courts have (so far) held that if the feds want to put conditions on funding, it has to be funding related to those conditions. In this case, that would mean they could yank law enforcement-related dollars, but not, say, higher-education grants.
Given that rounding up Portland's share of the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants would significantly raise our law enforcement budget, the whole thing might be a wash. Or tanks could roll into Pioneer Courthouse Square tomorrow; who knows?
*No, there is not a weekly check. That's my point.
QUESTIONS? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.