Donald Trump's rallies in the run up to the midterm elections on Tuesday increasingly sound like Klan rallies or something out of a Hitler rally attacking Jews. The racial animus - and lies - is off the charts and, hopefully, will be found repulsive by decent people (which sadly excludes most evangelicals). Some Republicans who basically hold the same views as Trump but who are concerned first and foremost with re-election are concerned that Der Trumpenführer's anti-Hispanic immigrant/refugee obsession will drive voters to Democrats, particularly in affluent suburban districts with college educated white voters. Indeed, one would hope Trump's spewing of hatred will galvanize Hispanic and Millennial voters to go to the polls and punish Republicans. A piece in Politico looks at the controversy. Here are excerpts:
Donald Trump hammered his hard line on immigration again on Thursday, but some Republicans wish he would shift focus to the economy, lest he drive away suburban voters and mobilize Latino communities against the GOP.Several Republican operatives and officials described a growing sense of fear within the party over Trump’s hard-line rhetoric on border security, which he has repeated nearly every day for the past three weeks.
“You’re playing at the margins with Republicans on the issue of immigration, but there are very many more Democrats that might be mobilized by his rhetoric,” said conservative radio host and The Resurgent editor Erick Erickson, who called Trump’s immigration-heavy closing pitch “not smart politically” in a tweet earlier Thursday.
Operating under the assumption that talking tough on immigration can energize enough Republicans to stymie a “blue wave” of Democratic midterm voters, Trump has spent the past week unveiling restrictive immigration policies at a dizzying pace and making erroneous declarations about a caravan of Central American migrants.
Restating his vow to deploy thousands more troops to the southwest border, Trump fumed over border-crossers and said he had instructed U.S. military personnel to “consider it a rifle” if incoming migrants hurl stones at them: “Anybody throwing stones, rocks … we will consider that a firearm because there’s not much difference when you get hit in the face with a rock.”
The speech came on a day when he tweeted a dramatic campaign ad featuring an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who murdered two California sheriff’s deputies in 2014 and laughed about it in a courtroom. “Democrats let him into our country,” the ad declares [even though the man entered America during the George W. Bush regime].
Democrats slammed the ad as exploiting stereotypes about immigrants, and even some Republicans condemned it.
“The kind of voters Trump is talking to right now, there aren’t enough of them in these areas to get us over the finish line,” said one GOP campaign official. . . . the official told POLITICO, adding that Trump “is solidifying swing voters who were already leaning Democratic and are now definitely going vote for Democratic candidates.”
Top Republican leaders have long urged Trump to make better use his rallies by highlighting the strong economy and reminding voters of the extra cash in their pockets from last year’s GOP tax cuts. As opposed to stoking fear over an “immigration crisis”, they want him to boast about the unemployment rate slipping below 4 percent, middle-class incomes returning to pre-recession levels, and surging consumer confidence.
“There’s just not enough base voters in a place like Miami to hand Carlos Curbelo a win,” said one Republican operative, pointing to a recent New York Times poll showing Curbelo, the GOP incumbent, trailing his Democratic opponent by a single percentage point in Florida’s 26th congressional district, which is nearly 70 percent Latino.
Some Republicans retiring from districts won by Hillary Clinton have also expressed dismay at the president’s decidedly anti-illegal immigrant closing argument. . . . . POTUS, out of nowhere, brings birthright citizenship up. Besides being basic tenet of America, it’s political malpractice,” said retiring GOP Rep. Ryan Costello, whose suburban Philadelphia district is ranked “solid D” by FiveThirtyEight.
Meanwhile, Democrats are claiming that Trump’s immigration obsession is only throwing momentum to their side.
“Two or three weeks ago, the No. 1 thing people were quietly worried about was apathy or low turnout with Latino voters and you’re not hearing that anymore,” said Todd Schulte, president of FWD.us, a bipartisan immigration advocacy group.
An MPR News/Star Tribune poll taken last month in Minnesota, where both Senate seats are up for grabs and Republicans are competing for the governor’s mansion, found that 52 percent of likely voters disapprove of the president’s direction on immigration, versus 42 percent who approve.