Each Friday through Election Day, we disseminate this memo highlighting the key 2020 developments at the intersection of electoral politics and immigration
Key Immigration Politics Stories
- Trump travels to Arizona to spew anti-immigrant venom like it’s 2016: Trump is the real radical.
- Democratic Convention displays a proudly pro-immigrant party: There is only one that is.
- Arpaio defeated: If immigrant bashing galvanizes the right, why do leading nativists keep losing?
- Misreading the room: Trump attacks Biden on immigration despite evidence it’s not working.
- Steve Bannon indicted for border wall grift: The story epitomizes Trumpism.
Trump’s visit to Arizona proves once more that he’s the real radical
- Donald Trump visited Yuma, Arizona this week to rant about immigration. It sounded almost exactly like four years ago: “murderers” and “rapists;” Mexico is going to pay for the wall; the Democrats want open borders; and more.
- The majority of Americans reject Trump’s radicalism: separating families; ending DACA and TPS; building a costly and ineffective border wall; exploiting a pandemic to shut off almost all immigration; and much more. The majority of Americans support a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, the cornerstone of the Biden-Harris immigration platform.
- Trump rails about immigrants and yet stands by while 170,000 Americans and counting die. He says nothing. He comes to Arizona, a hot spot for Covid-19 because the governor listened to Trump, and he says nothing. Nothing. He whistles past the graveyard and brags about a wall.
Democratic Convention displays a proudly pro-immigrant party
If immigrant bashing is a galvanizing issue on the right, why do leading nativists keep losing?
- In recent GOP primaries, darlings of the xenophobic right – Joe Arpaio, Kris Kobach, Jeff Sessions, and Steve King – have all gone down to defeat.
- In the 2018 midterms, Senate candidates Lou Barletta in Pennsylvania and Corey Stewart in Virginia lost by huge margins.And let’s not forget the “migrant caravans”that did nothing to avert the largest defeat in midterm history.
- Trump seems to think that appealing to a narrow base of white grievance voters on immigration will work. But the emerging multiracial majority is fed up with Trump’s race baiting and divide-to-deflect antics. They want leaders to bring us together to make big changes.
Misreading the room: During pandemic, Trump prioritizes immigration attack ads
A Reuters story this week by Ted Hesson and Chris Kahn, Trump pushes anti-immigrant message even as coronavirus dominates campaign, reveals the Trump campaign’s obsession with xenophobia:
- Immigration is Trump’s top campaign advertising issue. “The Trump campaign spent more on immigration-themed ads on Facebook than on any other policy area from April to June.”
- Stephen Miller says it’s great politics for Trump. Miller asserts that Joe Biden’s immigration stance is “a massive political vulnerability.”
- Criticism from a Republican strategist. Consultant Alex Conant: “If he’s not talking about the pandemic or the economy, he is not talking about what Americans are most concerned about.”
- Criticism from a GOP pollster. Whit Ayers: “His message today is almost exactly what it was in 2016. The country has changed, but the president’s message has not.”
Steve Bannon’s indictment for “We Build the Wall” scam epitomizes Trumpism
- A capo for the Trump crime family gets caught.
- This story epitomizes Trumpism: corruption and mendacity; racism and xenophobia; self-dealing and authoritarianism; undermining the rule of law while claiming to uphold the rule of law; using fear of ‘the non-white other’ to benefit insiders and elites.
- At its core, Trumpism is about wielding racism to spin up followers so well connected cronies get rich and maintain power.
- By 82 to 13%, voters in battleground states support for “path to citizenship” (GSG for The Immigration Hub, FWD.us, and America’s Voice);
- By 74% to 24%, voters nationwide support allowing undocumented immigrants to stay in America (Hart Research for CAP Action Fund).
- 77% of swing state voters support a pathway to citizenship (Civis for The Immigration Hub).
- 68% of undecided battleground state voters support a pathway to citizenship (ALG for NILC-IJF).
Campaign ads of the Week (from our newly remodeled site, 2020 Ad Watch)
- This week Trump ran nearly 5,000 Facebook ads fear-mongering about “AMNESTY for 11 MILLION illegal immigrants.” They also dropped two new TV ads with the same theme.
- America First Action PAC has a new Arizona focused attack ad featuring mom “Michelle” fretting about her teenage daughter: “it’s tough keeping her safe figuring out school, but Joe Biden wants free health care and free tuition for illegal immigrants. How’s that going to help us? Our kids need better healthcare, our kids need help with college.”