At least on immigration, Democrats are still losing the “war of ideas”
We now interrupt your flurry of Russian lawyer-based stories for a few brief observations on President Trump’s travel ban and how the Democrats are responding to it. While this case will show up yet again at the Supreme Court this fall, there’s one other test taking place on a daily basis, and that’s in the court of public opinion. Whether Trump wins or loses in front of any particular set of justices (though it seems more and more likely that he’ll prevail on the merits) the real question for members of the political class to wrestle with is how the public is reacting. Karol Markowicz has a few surprises on that score in a piece at the New York Post this week. For all the talk you hear coming out of the Democrats in Congress you’d think that restrictions on immigration from terror hot spots is anathema to rank and file Americans. But surprise, surprise, surprise. It’s actually not.
Last week, a Politico/Morning Consult poll on President Trump’s proposed travel ban on visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries revealed a somewhat surprising discovery: 60 percent of voters agreed with Trump’s proposed ban. That includes 56 percent of independents and even 41 percent of Democrats.
The plan, however, has a distinct advantage: It’s the only idea on the table.
What’s the alternative to the ban from the left? What’s the plan to stop terrorist attacks? Literally nothing.
That phrase… “literally nothing” describes pretty much the entirety of the Democrats’ position on both terror threats from the countries included in the travel ban and the overall subject of illegal immigration in general. And, as Markowicz points out, it all boils down to reflexive political instincts. If the Republicans in general and Trump in particular think something is a good idea, it must be a terrible idea, so we’ll oppose anything to do with it. This is a habit which most voters will find insulting if they take the time to consider it because Democratic leaders are basically treating their electorate like a bunch of toddlers. People have more nuanced views on pretty much everything if you give them the required information and a bit of time to ponder it.
Some voters may rightly have specific concerns about particular aspects of Trump’s travel ban. Are the right countries included? Should there be more or fewer exceptions? How long should it last? All valid questions, but as we see in the poll cited above, there’s almost nobody who just flatly and blindly opposes the idea.
This is of a piece with the overall illegal immigration question. If the GOP wants to curtail illegal immigration and deport illegal aliens, rather than discussing the details, Democrats immediately erect sanctuary cities and want to keep everyone here. Trump wants to build a wall, so the knee-jerk response from the Democrats is to cancel any and all funding for any sort of barrier construction. But if you look at the most recent entries in Gallup’s long running poll on attitudes regarding illegal immigration you’ll see that the Democrats are once again missing the boat. There is virtually nobody in this country in favor of completely open borders. 59% of Americans worry either “a great deal or a fair amount” about illegal immigration. And that includes not only 79% of Republicans, but 48% of Democrats. That’s pretty much half of your base right there.
Does this really sound like a winning midterm strategy next year? More from Markowicz:
Newsflash: The other guys control the White House, Senate, House and a majority of statehouses and governorships. Yes, the voters have seen the other guys — they seem to like them.
Democrats are under the mistaken impression that simply pointing and laughing at Republicans, Trump in particular, is going to be enough. It hasn’t been so far, and if signature Trump policies are going to poll at 60 percent approval, it won’t be next time, either.
Not all of the undecided voters out there like the ideas being put forth by the White House and the GOP majority. But at least they have ideas. Offering nothing to replace those plans isn’t going to work because it turns out that most Americans aren’t nearly as stupid as the Democratic leadership assumes they are.