By Following Miller’s Advice, Trump and GOP on a Political and Policy Losing Streak
The news of the short-term continuing resolution to fund the government, and not Trump’s border wall, represents another high-profile failure for President Trump’s reliance on xenophobia — and for his chief advisor and head cheerleader Stephen Miller.
During an interview with Breitbart News last May, Stephen Miller made it clear that anti-immigrant fear mongering and divisiveness would be the central thrust of the White House and Republican 2018 midterm political strategy. President Trump and the GOP followed his advice, but the strategy failed badly and xenophobia backfired in 2018.
An editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal blasts Miller for leading the GOP over the cliff in immigration:
Mr. Trump was given bad advice by White House aide Stephen Miller and cable-TV scolds that immigration would be the GOP’s killer issue in the fall. It killed Republicans all right. The summer brought the family separation fiasco, and no amount of last-minute campaign hype about the caravan from Central America could save Republicans in the suburbs.
As the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent noted this week, the Trump/Miller crusade to shut down the government over the border wall completely ignores the 2018 midterm results, fails to recognize the severely weakened position of Trump, and is directly at odds with the views of majority of American voters.
Analysis from Republican pollster David Winston, highlighted by David Drucker of the Washington Examiner, adds evidence to how the home-stretch fear-mongering in the midterms backfired: “The people who made their decision over the last few days voted Democratic by a 12-point margin.” As Drucker summarized of Winston’s analysis, “voters broadly were 59 percent less likely to back Republicans after hearing from them on immigration and 63 percent less likely to support them based on the issues of border security and the migrant caravan.”
A new Politico/Morning Consult poll finds that voters would blame Trump and Congressional Republicans for a shutdown and that, by a 55-31% margin, reject the idea that a border wall would be worth shutting down the government for. December polling from NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll similarly found that 50% of respondents said building a border wall should “not a priority at all,” with an additional 19% saying “not an immediate priority,” compared to just 28% who said an “immediate priority.”
And in a column titled, “Trump is Making Americans More Immigrant-Friendly,” Frank Wilkinson of Bloomberg highlights a collection of recent polling that shows how, under Trump, the American public is actually growing more pro-immigrant.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Stephen Miller is the architect of a boneheaded and malicious policy and political strategy, one that has led to a historic drubbing in the midterms and an embarrassing loss in this spending showdown. Like his boss, he mistakes rally chants for popular support and prizes racial incitement over sensible policies. No wonder he’s so central to the Trump White House.”