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America’s Voice Election 2020 Weekly Digest #3

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Each Friday through Election Day, we put out a short weekly memo that highlights the biggest 2020 election developments at the intersection of electoral politics and immigration. 

Key Immigration Politics Storylines

Kamala Harris, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and the sharp contrast between the two parties

Kamala Harris is an inspired and historic choice as Joe Biden’s running mate. She embodies an America that is inclusive, welcoming and forward-looking. Read this heartfelt take on the VP selection by Juana Esquivel of America’s Voice. Like Kamala, Juana is a woman of color, a proud Californian, the daughter of immigrants and a passionate defender of immigrants.

Marjorie Taylor Greene, who won a GOP primary this week and next January will represent northwest Georgia in Congress, is the first known member of QAnon in Congress. She is a conspiracy theorist and virulently racist and anti-Semitic. Her victory was celebrated by Donald Trump. 

Evidently, Democrats are embracing the growing multiracial majority that is their coalition. Evidently, Republicans are embracing the shrinking, angry and addled minority that is their coalition. 

All the leading GOP nativists are losing

The question must be asked: with xenophobia touted as a winning issue for Trump and the Republicans, why are leading xenophobes losing their races? Joe Arpaio lost this past week in Arizona. This follows the recent defeats of other prominent nativists – Jeff Sessions, Kris Kobach, Steve King, Corey Stewart, and Lou Barletta. The leader of a rabidly anti-immigrant group, William Gheen of ALIPAC, issued a plaintive tweet noting that, “In the era of Trump…who would have ever guessed after four years of Trump our top voices against illegal immigration would b gone[?]”

We could have and we know why. Nativism works for some but backfires for most.  Trump’s demonization of immigrants has forced Americans to choose. We have. The majority stands with immigrants and refugees and against those who advocate cruel and inhumane policies.

Read our report: For Trump and the GOP, Xenophobia as a Political Strategy Has Backfired. We document how the Trump/Republican electoral strategy of running on racial grievance and xenophobia from 2017 through 2019 has mostly failed.

Polling Snapshot

On immigration, voters disapprove of Trump and trust Biden over Trump

(from Fox News Poll, August 13, 2020) 

  • “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling the following issues?” Approve/disapprove:

    • Immigration 41% – 53%
    • Race relations 35% – 57%
    • The economy 50% – 46%
    • Health care 40% – 53%
    • Foreign policy 39% – 54%
  • “Regardless of how you might vote, who do you trust to do a better job on each of the following — Joe Biden or Donald Trump?”

    • Immigration: 49% Biden; 42% Trump

Campaign ads of the Week (from our tracking site, 2020 Ad Watch)

  • Trump attacks Biden on citizenship for the undocumented: Trump’s new ad out this week quotes Biden saying 1) he wants to raise taxes, and 2) he supports “citizenship for 11 million undocumented folks.” The narrator says “that means 11 million illegal immigrants competing for American Jobs. Eligible for free healthcare, Social Security, and Medicare” (read our take here on why we LOVE the attacks on Biden’s support for  citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants).
  • Karl Rove’s Super PAC links BLM and sanctuary cities in Kansas, and attacks AL Sen. Doug Jones on the wall: One Nation, Karl Rove’s big-money super PAC, has a four week, $4.2 million ad buy in Kansas supporting GOP Senate candidate Roger Marshall. The ad, drenched in dog-whistle racism, links Black Lives Matter protests with sanctuary cities, which Rove’s group falsely characterizes as “safe harbor for criminal illegals.” The PAC also is running a new ad attacking Senator Doug Jones for voting against billions in wall funding and voting against the phony national emergency Trump declared.