The Trump administration is talking openly about restarting one of the darkest chapters in recent American history. As Politico’s Ted Hesson notes:
The Trump administration is considering ways to deter a soaring number of families arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border — including once again separating parents and children.
In preparing the ground for such cruelty, it seems Trump and his team are doing two things: 1) embracing a deeply traumatic and dehumanizing practice; and 2) purposefully injecting immigration into the homestretch of the midterm elections.
Let us not forget. This past summer’s family separation crisis caused national and worldwide outrage. It was also a self-inflicted political wound for Republicans. It’s pretty clear that a sustained focus on family separations down the midterm homestretch would hurt GOP candidates, given that Republicans in Congress have failed to hold the administration accountable for their monstrous policy towards vulnerable children and their loved ones.
In September, the Associated Press’s Julie Pace referenced internal Republican polling that revealed how the family separation policy had hurt Trump and the Republicans’ standing among moderates and independents in congressional battlegrounds. In July, at the height of the attention to the family separation crisis, Republican consultant and leading “Never Trumper” Rick Wilson wrote a Daily Beast column titled, “This Was the Week That Finally Broke Trump’s Spell,” capturing, “The stories and the coverage combined two things; first, they exposed how gleefully the Trump Administration viewed the pain and fear of children. Second, they made Americans face what was being done in their name.”
New polling from the Washington Post/ABC News offers fresh evidence that Trump’s cruelty on immigration has taken a durable toll on Republicans:
- On the question, “which party do you trust to do a better job handling immigration,” the poll finds that Democrats hold a 50-38% advantage over Republicans — and a 57-32% margin among women.
- A greater share of Democratic voters say that immigration is an important issue in determining their vote this year: 74% say immigration is important; 26% say the issue is “one of the single most important issues.”
- For Republicans, 71% say immigration is important, but only half as many GOP voters — 13% — say it is “one of the single most important issues.”
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Trump and his administration are doubling down on cruelty and cynicism. They are targeting brown people seeking safety in America for their families, and they are targeting low-propensity Republican voters in hopes of hanging onto power. How disgusting. DHS should keep families together and enable those fleeing violence to apply for protection through a fair process. American voters should reject the dehumanizing policies and divisive politics of the President and his cowardly political party. We need sensible government refugee policies and we need unifying political leaders. With this crowd in charge now, we get neither.