Fact: Americans (especially Democrats) are more pro-immigration than ever
Fact: President Trump keeps running to his base–but at some point (even) he might see the need to triangulate–and immigration is the issue that matters to possibly move swing voters.
Fact: Trump is polling 30 points worse with independent voters than he dd in 2016! The 2018 midterms were a foreshadowing of this–Republicans did 20% worse with independents in that election than 2016 and the President has only hurt prospects with independent voters more since then. This is not just polling bias! And there is good reason to assume there is less polling bias today.
The last time The President saw a meaningful jump in his support among independent voters was the State of the Union speech. What primarily moved them was Trump’s lengthy focus and discussion of The First Step Act on criminal justice reform. It was a trial balloon for triangulation that had strong positive results that the administration has noted.
Trump has laid the groundwork for a possible triangulation on immigration–starting with the State of the Union (where he said “more legal immigration than ever”) and over 20 more comments supporting increases in legal immigration (including a lengthy discussion and explanation of the need for more legal immigration at CPAC!).
This possible triangulation is the best chance Trump has to be reelected–a point we know he has heard. When Trump reaches the “acceptance” stage on the polling realities (which clearly has not happened yet), you might see him move. Democrats should we working now to make it more difficult for him to execute that pivot successfully.
Currently, Trump and Republicans are on an island with respect to immigration policy. Polling data from our engagement with Frank Luntz shows Dem and Swing voters are aligned and a well crafted immigration policy would have their overwhelming support. We are more than happy to share the cross tab data )with your team and to find the exact right tone and language. We have some incredibly interesting results along these lines.
As more poll results hit the media, the pressure from “Chamber of Commerce (Reagan)” Republicans on the President to pivot on immigration will intensify. These rifts are already growing–some signs are the recent pronouncements from the Koch Brothers and the Chamber that they are open to supporting Democratic candidates.
The link below is my analysis of these rifts.
Democrats would be wise to have an immigration proposal that exposes and widens those rifts.
How to go on the offensive on immigration
As this recent article in USA today shows, Republicans are trying to distance themselves from any charge of being anti-immigrant (or racist)–they know that being anti-immigrant is NOT a winning position. The following article is from Lamar Smith, who helped block immigration reform efforts in the House for over a decade.
I ask these questions of Mr. Smith and of Republicans more broadly:
Who are better positioned to determine who possess the needed skills and education, the Department of Labor or the companies seeking to hire workers? Who owns the jobs a company creates, that company or the US government?
How many guest workers will be allowed to enter the US and work? There are an estimated 7 million job postings, far more than the number of unemployed citizens seeking work. Will the number of guest workers be decided by employers and market forces, or will this be decided by Washington DC? Should immigrant workers who are successful, law abiding and tax paying have any path to earning permanent residency or citizenship?