tags: , , America’s Voice Research on Immigration Reform, Press Releases

New Analysis of Political Ads: GOP Candidates Are Blaming Immigrants, Stoking Fear and Dividing Americans As Never Before

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A new analysis of House Republican candidates’ midterm TV ads, conducted by Kantar Media and published by USA Today, confirms that ugly anti-immigrant fear mongering and divisiveness is the central thrust of the White House and Republicans’ 2018 political strategy.

The USA Today article, “Immigration dominating GOP candidates’ TV ads in House contests across the country,” finds that:

Republicans have aired more than 14,000 campaign ads touting a tough Trump-style immigration platform so far this year … The GOP focus on immigration is particularly striking, given that it was not among the top 10 issues Republicans were spending their ad dollars on at this point in the 2014 midterms. In that cycle, GOP contenders were attacking then-President Barack Obama, bashing the Affordable Care Act, and promising to rein in government spending. Now, immigration ranks second only to pro-Trump spots in GOP campaigns across the country — and just by a smidgen.

Will it work beyond primary contests? Republican consultant Frank Luntz does not think so. As noted in the USA Today article:

…Some strategists warn that the GOP’s full-throated embrace of Trump’s anti-immigration positions in primaries could come back to haunt them in the fall.

“Here’s the problem,” said Frank Luntz, a longtime Republican consultant. “It puts them in a position that the general public will not agree with.”

An overwhelming majority of Americans, 74%, support granting permanent legal status to the DREAMers, and 60% oppose expanding the wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, according to a January 2018 Pew Research Center poll.

Luntz said his own polls show that even many Republican voters support protecting the DREAMers. “If it looks like it’s Republicans holding up an agreement (in Congress), they’ll get hurt on Election Day…”

The new analysis underscores what White House anti-immigrant ringleader Stephen Miller revealed during an interview with Breitbart News last week: the White House midterm strategy is all about immigration.

To date, the GOP has used this playbook in off-year and special elections in Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Florida. 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.

According to Matt Hildreth, Political Director for America’s Voice:

We cannot let Trump and the GOP, aided by the greedy few and the politicians they buy off, divide us based on the what someone looks like or where they come from. It’s time to stand up for each other and to come together. It’s time for us to pick leaders who embrace the very best of every kind of American. It’s time for a grand ‘Coalition of the Decent’ to join forces and fight for freedom, justice and opportunity for everyone, with nobody and no one left out.

For more, listen to the latest episode of the America’s Voice podcast, “A is for America”, featuring an interview with America’s Voice Executive Director Frank Sharry, who frames the stakes and implications of the Republicans’ ongoing anti-immigrant strategy.