The chair of the Republican National Committee says that the wall needs to be built or the GOP base will punish Republican candidates in 2018:
Republican National Committee chair Ronna Romney McDaniel said Wednesday that failing to fulfill Donald Trump's campaign promise to build a wall along the Mexican border will hurt the party in the 2018 midterm elections.
"They're gonna lose the trust of our base if we don't keep our promises, our base is gonna walk away," McDaniel said when asked by conservative radio host Laura Ingraham about the possibly of the wall not being built or funded. "They're gonna feel like, 'hey you said one thing on the campaign trail to get elected and you didn't act on it.'"
Except that Trump voters don't seem upset that it's delayed:
President Donald Trump’s promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border isn’t worth shutting down the federal government, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.
Sixty-one percent of registered voters say funding a wall along the nation’s southern border is "not important enough to prompt a shutdown."
Check the detailed numbers and you see that 51% of Republicans don't think it's important enough to justify a shutdown (40% do).
And if you go back to the summer, there was anecdotal evidence that Trump voters never really expected the wall to be built the way Trump promised. See, for instance, this Washington Post story from June:
“Trump says a lot of things right off the cuff. Does he mean it to the ‘T’? I don’t think so,” said Dennis Kerns, 55, a retired elementary-school teacher who lives near Albuquerque....
He added: “I think if he strengthens the borders . . . it will be the same as building the wall. So the wall’s still there, it’s just invisible. It might be 10 feet tall, it might be 20 feet tall, but it’s invisible. So the wall can be built even without having to be built.”
... Ian Carney, who works in construction and came to the Albuquerque rally with his girlfriend, described the wall as simply a “rhetorical device” that Trump uses.
“Personally, I think it’s symbolic. I mean, a physical wall?” said Carney, 26. “It’s just such a strong vision and idea, but I just care about the border being secure.”
... The next evening in Billings, Mont., Bret Weddle said he expected Trump to build a wall in some places but not across the entire 1,989-mile border....
“Virtual fences,” said Weddle, 40, a father of two who works as an IT consultant.
I've started to believe that a lot of Trump voters didn't care about building the wall as much as they cared about being given permission to hate the people the wall would supposedly exclude. That's why they felt so much joy chanting about the wall and doing "Who's going to pay?" "Mexico!" call-and-response. They'd love to have it, but they were delighted just to be able to say out loud that they wanted it. They were in a safe space where saying that was not permitted, but encouraged. Even if Trump never gets the wall built, they'll always be grateful to him for that.
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog