As Obama Prepares to Step Up, Republican Brand Continues to Spiral Downward
The current top immigration news story is the anti-immigrant protest in Murrieta, CA this week — the one where some professional activists from outside of the city got riled up by the mayor and blocked the transfer of Central American women and children to the area Border Patrol. The restrictionists’ actions were hostile and close to violent, as they spat on Mexican music superstar Lupillo Rivera and held signs saying “send the illegals back.”
The images broadcast all over TV, of angry protestors screaming at buses full of refugees, came after weeks of Republican fear-mongering over the humanitarian situation affecting nationals of three countries experiencing extreme violence. Members of Congress have been demagoguing about the children, Murrieta’s mayor Alan Long has been accused of spurring the protest and said he was “proud” of what happened, while news outlets like Fox News and Breitbart.com have been fomenting fear and misinformation about what is a genuine refugee situation.
As Chris Hayes pointed out on MSNBC’s All In last night, the images of Murrieta should shudder the spines of Republican strategists, because of their association with the GOP. According to Hayes:
Whether Republicans realize it or not, the images [from the protest] are a huge problem for them. Every Republican in America should be terrified when they look at images like that, because many, many Latino voters will see that — both the protests and the conservative media’s treatment of it — and think to themselves, I don’t want to vote for the same people that those people vote for.
The protest capped off what was already a pretty bad week for Republicans’ Latino and APIA voter outreach. First, the President gave a forceful speech in the Rose Garden condemning Republicans for blocking legislative immigration reform and vowing to take executive action to make big changes to the immigration system on his own, within the confines of the law, later this summer. Then, Rep. Darrell Issa and 32 other House Republicans sent a letter to President Obama calling for the end of DACA — AKA the resumption of deportations of DREAMers, once again making their mark as the anti-DREAMer, anti-immigrant party.
According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:
Instead of advancing a policy solution that would move the country forward and restart their relationship with key groups of voters, Republicans are doubling down on their crazy deportation strategy. The President is stepping up to show leadership, and the GOP is jammed in reverse. It’s sad, leading into the 4th of July celebrations this weekend, that the GOP is tarnishing the very values we stand for as a nation. This was a really bad week for the Republican Party, one that will clearly haunt them in 2016.
As NBC contributor Raul Reyes pointed out on MSNBC:
Republicans strategically are in a very dangerous spot. President Obama is going to take executive action on immigration. That will inflame the same type of protest, this type of negative, anti-immigrant sentiment. Then, in the next election cycle, whichever Republicans are running for the nomination, they’re going to have to run on trying to take those things back — to revoke DACA, to revoke protected status for immigrants.
It didn’t have to be this way. House Republicans could have taken a different road, and worked with Rep. Luis Gutierrez and others to craft a policy solution for the country that was also a political winner for the GOP. But they didn’t, and for now any future-minded Republicans have to realize that the Minutemen in Murrieta are the face of the GOP.