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Will the Illegal Immigration Debate Make or Break the GOP in 2018?

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Published on: February 21, 2018

A former Democrat political pollster and a New York City political observer have written one of the most astute pieces on the upcoming 2018 midterm election that you’ll ever read.

Pollster Doug Schoen and political activist Andrew Stein recently penned a piece for the Hill wherein they explain the one issue that will make or break both parties in the 2018 midterms.

The two men explain that the overriding issue that turned the tide, in both the primary and in the general election, toward Donald Trump, was illegal immigration. “The Wall,” was the primary reason for Trump’s victory in the primary, and his willingness to speak rationally about border security and illegal immigration won him the general (particularly in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin).

However, it wasn’t just Trump’s plain-talking on illegal immigration that won him the day. It was that, coupled with the Democrats fantasy-world rhetoric of illegal immigration that gave him the victory.

Schoen and Stein explain:

Despite vocal resistance to the president, the party appears to have not learned its lesson from 2016. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) eight-and-a-half-hour speech last week and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) federal government shutdown in late January were not only wrongheaded, but were politically destructive.

By focusing exclusively on the Dreamers and offering no practical limits on immigration, much less any border security, the Democrats are in the process of writing their own political obituary for November and beyond. But a deal with President Trump can turn this perennially difficult issue into an electoral benefit. Here’s how.

President Trump has proposed a compromise by offering a path to citizenship for 1.8 million Dreamers, building a wall on the southern border, ending the visa lottery program, and ending what he calls “chain migration” and what the Democrats call “family unification.”

In fact, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has proposed a bill in Congress based on these four planks. The Democrats have previously said this proposal is dead-on-arrival, which is a clear mistake and there are some small bits of evidence now that the party is waking up to the fact that the Schumer-Pelosi approach was just plain wrong.

Not only did the illegal immigration issue cost the Democrats the 2016 election, the issue is threatening to destroy their chance in 2018 and 2020 as well. Just a few short months ago, the Democrats held a massive lead (mid-teens) in the head-to-head generic ballots. Today, that lead is down under 7 points, and a recent poll from Politico/Morning Consult gave the GOP a slight edge.

Sadly, President Trump and the GOP may be handing the Democrats an easy way out of their electoral troubles.

How? By offering a compromise on DACA and the DREAMers that would give the Democrats everything they say they want.

President Trump has offered the Democrats a deal that would see 1.8 million DACA eligible DREAMers granted amnesty to stay in America. Thus far, Democrats have balked because the amnesty would also give President Trump his wall and bring an end to the dreaded “chain migration.” If Democrats continue to ignore Trump’s DACA overtures, they will most certainly suffer electorally in 2018 and 2020.

However, some Democrats are beginning to realize that while they may hate Trump’s wall, the tradeoff will likely be worth it.

By agreeing to a deal on immigration, whether it be one that the president has proposed or one that Congress is now working on, the Democrats can simultaneously take the issue off the table and score what will be perceived as a victory on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) for individuals whose parents brought them to the United States as minors and through no fault of their own find themselves here illegally.

The President seems to be calling the Democrats bluff in this scenario. He wouldn’t mind granting amnesty to the DACA DREAMers, but he really doesn’t seem to believe that the Democrats are willing to compromise with him.

If they don’t, look for the GOP to come away from the 2018 midterms in a better position than anyone was predicting just a few weeks ago. If the Democrats do compromise… 2018 could end up being a bloodbath and the Republicans could rue the day they agreed to compromise.

Article posted with permission from

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