The weakest form of negotiation is to accept your opponent’s frame of reference. For instance, if I am in the market for a 1998 Nissan Sentra, I don’t counter-offer $35,000 if the seller is asking $40,000. As a party of opposing interests, his assessment of value or propriety is not the basis of mine. As a result, the range of my counter is developed independent of his position. So instead of something premised on his asking price, my offer is more likely to be something along the lines of a butane lighter and bag of beef jerky. And maybe the space between that and 40Gs is simply too vast. Though those who fail to understand this fundamental exercise are certain to bear the sucker’s brunt of every bargain.
I was thinking about this in context of how Trump and the republicans have mangled the “dreamer” debacle. Of course Republicans howled when Obama issued the edict, and Trump made its defenestration a centerpiece of his America-first campaign. If his spine were no stiffer than spray cheese, the President could have simply stopped issuing new applications and renewals and let the program wither on the vine. But conservatism only exists to defend liberal victories. And perhaps that includes the Trumpist variety as well.
Because both the president and congress now seem desperate to sanctify several million more hostile foreign democrats. I don’t know why politicians on the right persistently bad mouth Hate, when they’re so plainly eager to import more of it. I suppose the only way revanchist Mexicans could secure Paul Ryan’s disdain would be if they promised to become loyal republicans. Given that qualifier, we are assured his affections for them are safe.
And it appears those affections are now taking legislative form in the Succeed Act. You can read about this capitulation (or betrayal depending on whether your evaluation leans to cowards or thieves) here or here if inclined. In capsule, it is a republican plan to slow-walk amnesty to the echoing moans of Simpson-Mazzoli.
A bit more specifically, it carves out a 15 year path to citizenship, and denies the inevitable mass family migration until that time. You read that correct. Chain migration isn’t prohibited under this proposal, but merely delayed.
But the right (we’ll call these people “Americans”) is tossed a bone in the form of ferocious plans to restrict future illegal migration.
The bill would require future temporary visa holders — such as people who come to the United States on worker or student visas — to sign a waiver that would otherwise grant them an immigration hearing or other immigration-related benefits if they violate the terms of their visa.
Wow, Republicans aren’t playing around anymore. We’re done with your living here illegally bullshit. You see this waiver? Well sign it! If Africans knew cold, hard waivers were awaiting them in Italy, I imagine dinghies would be turning south by the dozens right now.
And that’s apparently what democrats are afraid of.
Frank Sharry of America’s Voice, argued that provisions barring the young immigrants from sponsoring relatives for green cards, as well as the waiver proposal, were “disturbing.”
Right, it’s not the foreign family’s fault they aren’t already here illegally. Why should they be punished? Also, we should clarify that “disturbing” is defined on the left as a thing which impedes Nicaraguans from living in Nebraska.
“None of these provisions are applied to other groups of admitted immigrants,” Sharry said. “Why, then, does this bill send this group of young Americans to the back of the bus?”
So then we shouldn’t admit them as immigrants, obviously. Though usually even the people at the back of the bus have a ticket. Where’s their’s?
But none of this is startling to any reader here. So I will return to the original topic. Take note of how republicans imprudently premise their position. Instead of independently assessing the value of the left’s demand, they concede the asking price from the outset, while seeking to shave pennies at the negotiating table.
The price to which they are conceding is ludicrous, but the price isn’t really the point. The bargain was lost the moment they accepted the left’s frame as their own reference. The left wanted dreamers legalized. That’s the $40,000 19 year-old Sentra. We’ll make them sign waivers is a $39,000 counter offer.
An independent evaluation would have produced a far different dialogue. Republicans are under no compulsion whatsoever to legalize millions of new democrats. I can’t toss my kids over Zuckerberg’s wall and expect they’ll wind up in his will. And neither can Jose and Maria. If the democrats were desperate for such an enormous accommodation, they should have been prepared to offer lavish concessions: Drastic cuts to legal immigration, ending myriad visa programs, funding the border wall, and an end to racial preferences in this “browning America,” as a start.
That was the rational republican baseline, not whatever pie-in-the-sky demand the left vomits on the table. Maybe the gulf between those positions could be crossed; maybe it couldn’t. But if the Dems weren’t willing to make bitter concessions on their behalf, then let the “dreamers” be advised of who failed them.
However, all this presumes we actually have parties of opposing interests. And that might be the biggest framing failure of all.