tags: Press Releases

GOP Extremism, Including on Immigration, Alienates Most Voters

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Vanessa Cárdenas: GOP doesn’t seem interested in course correcting after another midterm election cycle in which GOP extremism, including on immigration, limited Republican gains

Washington, DC – Yesterday, we highlighted how some Republicans were starting to push back against the GOP’s continued reliance on ugly and performative anti-immigrant politics. As Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) said, “If you want to lose the majority, this is how you do it,” referring to the political toll of Republicans defining themselves by anti-immigrant legislation, such as Rep. Chip Roy’s extremist bill that would effectively ban asylum.

As we noted, just as in the past election cycles of 2017, 2018, and 2020 – the GOP’s embrace of nativism, anti-immigrant fear mongering and dangerous conspiracies during the 2022 midterms spoke to the radicalized MAGA base, but alienated the majority of the electorate.

Arizona during the 2022 midterm cycle was a case study in the above points, as Republican candidates like Kari Lake and Blake Masters ran two of the most virulently anti-immigrant GOP campaigns in 2022, relying on white nationalist conspiracy talking points among an array of other extreme MAGA stances. Aaron Blake of the Washington Post writes up the takeaways from new analysis of the Arizona midterm elections (originally covered by the Arizona Republic). Blake writes:

“The Arizona Republic this weekend highlighted a study of voting in all-important Maricopa County, which accounts for about 60 percent of the state’s electorate. It’s from a group called the “Audit Guys,” which includes a data analyst for the state Republican Party. The study showed Lake, Masters and other statewide candidates like secretary of state hopeful Mark Finchem lost a significant number of votes from voters who otherwise backed mostly Republicans. Those voters didn’t just skip those contests, mind you; they voted in large numbers for Democrats. And in some cases, including Lake’s, that appears to have been decisive. 

… in this case, it’s not a symptom of voters simply being registered as a Republican and voting Democratic, whether because they failed to update their registration or for any other reason. This was voters going to the polls and proactively voting for mostly Republicans, but deciding each of these Republicans were a bridge too far for them.”

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

“Judging by House Republican leadership’s early priorities, they don’t seem interested in learning the lesson or course correcting after another midterm election cycle in which GOP extremism, including on immigration, limited Republican gains. In Arizona, arguably ground zero of the immigration debate, Kari Lake, Blake Masters and the rest of the Republican slate alienated even Republican voters. It’s a lesson the GOP refuses to learn yet again: following their nativist wing costs the GOP dearly.”