Politics Magazine

Immigration Is Not An Issue That Helps Republicans

Posted on the 17 July 2014 by Jobsanger
Immigration Is Not An Issue That Helps Republicans
Last month, the main issues for this year's election were poor government (dysfunctional Congress), the faltering economy, and high unemployment. None of these were great issues for the Republicans. The dysfunctional Congress is due mainly to their efforts to kill everything the president proposes, and people know that. The public is well aware that it is the congressional Republicans who refuse to compromise for the good of the country.
In addition, the public knows that the GOP has killed all jobs bills proposed (including one that would rebuild our crumbling infrastructure), and they don't like it. They also know that the only "solution" the GOP has for the faltering economy is to cut taxes more for the rich and corporations (a continuation of their failed "trickle-down" economic policy). And the GOP opposition to raising the minimum wage (which would boost the economy, bring workers out of poverty, and create demand & jobs) is not popular with the general public.
For the Republicans to win on those issues, they would need to have a repeat of 2010 -- when the racist teabaggers voted in large numbers, and most other people stayed home. I don't think that'll happen, and neither do the Republicans -- so they have been searching for an issue that will resonate with voters. They had hoped to campaign on the failure of Obamacare, but a record number of people signed up for insurance and people are starting to realize that they were lied to by the Republicans about that program. Note on the chart above that health care has been steadily dropping as an issue with the public since January, and now rests at only about 8% (half of what it was in January).
Now some right-wingers think they have found their issue -- the few thousand children trying to get into this country without papers (and who happen to have brown skin). They are doing their best to paint this as some kind of enormous invasion of disease-infested villains, when it really is just a few thousand children trying to save their own lives (and their numbers are a very small drop in the bucket compared to the millions of undocumented immigrants living and working in this country).
But the Republicans have been successful at getting one thing done. Their furor over these children has revived immigration as an election issue. It was considered important by only 5% of American voters in June, but now is deemed an important issue by 17% in July (more than any other single issue).
The question though is -- will this help the Republican's electoral chances? I doubt it. In fact, it may work against them. The only people who will appreciate the hard-hearted anti-child approach of the Republicans are the teabaggers -- and the Republicans already have all of those voters. Reviving immigration as an issue will just remind most voters (who want real immigration reform and a path to citizenship for deserving immigrants) that it was the Republicans who killed any chance at immigration reform.
I'm glad they have put immigration back on the front pages, but I think they are badly mistaken if they think this will help them in  this election year. Thankfully, most voters are not as mean-spirited as the Republican officials -- and they would like to see some real reform. And most voters will be offended at the GOP effort to win an election on the backs of innocent children.
The chart above was made from Gallup Polls taken monthly on the issues important to Americans. The latest Gallup Poll was done between July 7th and 10th of a random national sample of 1,013 adults, and has a margin of error of about 4 points.

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