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Led by President Trump, the Republican Party has fully embraced an ugly and divisive brand of politics seeking to stoke fear, sow division, and blame immigrants in an effort to maintain political power.
Last night, for example, President Trump delivered another anti-immigrant stream of consciousness speech at a rally for Tennessee Republican Senate candidate Rep. Marsha Blackburn. During the rally, our “Divider in Chief” called House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi a “MS-13 lover,” and he openly admitted the same point that Stephen Miller revealed during an interview with Breitbart News last week: the White House and Republican midterm strategy is all about immigration. At last night’s rally, Trump said:
Democrats want to use it [immigration] as a campaign issue, and I keep saying I hope they do … That’s a good issue for us, not for them. You can say what you want, but I think border security and security in general is a great issue for the Republican Party … If you want your communities to be safe, if you want your schools to be safe, if you want your country to be safe, then you must go out and get the Democrats the hell out of office, because there’s no common sense.
As Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Maggie Haberman, and Jonathan Martin of the New York Times write, the Tennessee speech is a preview of what Trump and the GOP plan in other red states with Senate races – an ugly tour that is being fully embraced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party strategists:
President Trump is planning to focus his midterm campaigning this summer on red states with competitive Senate races where he has a deep reservoir of support and can bring a message devised to stoke partisan outrage … Few are more delighted about Mr. Trump’s summer tour than Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, and his lieutenants.
And as we highlighted yesterday, House Republican candidates are focusing on anti-immigrant ads and messages in an unprecedented fashion, according to new analysis of House Republican candidates’ midterm TV ads conducted by Kantar Media and published by USA Today. And as Sahil Kapur of Bloomberg assessed, “If public opinion on the tax law doesn’t improve, I’d expect more Republicans to default to Trumpy messages about immigration and crime ahead of November.”
According to Matt Hildreth, Political Director for America’s Voice:
Americans deserve better. We deserve elected officials who respect us, not attack us; who invest in our future, not endanger it in order to line the pockets of a few; who fund our schools, ensure health care and extend equal opportunity to all, regardless of background; who bring us together rather than dividing us while handing kickbacks to the rich and pointing the finger for our hard times at communities of color. Come November, it will be up to all of us who care about a fair and just America to show up and elect those who represent the values of the majority, not the interests of the greedy few.
Of course, the Republican playbook on immigration has been tried and failed in off-year and special elections in Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Florida during the past year. In almost all of the general election contests, it either has not worked or it has backfired. Read our recent political memo for more, including analysis on our 2017 election eve poll of Virginia voters.