My, how quickly the plot changes with just a single flight to Martha’s Vineyard!
To be fair, the media’s interest in the border crisis began spiking upward before then, but not much before Ron DeSantis sent 50 illegal immigrants to the wealthy Massachusetts enclave. When buses began arriving in “sanctuary cities” like New York City and Washington DC, thanks to the efforts of DeSantis, Greg Abbott, and Doug Ducey, the media went into full freak-out mode. They excoriated these Republican governors endlessly, and still do.
And you can guess what that did for public interest in the border crisis. Axios reports this morning that it has now eclipsed interest in abortion, a topic that mainstream media spent the summer flogging for the midterms, as well as the Mar-a-Lago kerfuffle:
Americans’ Google searches and story interactions around crime and immigration are eclipsing abortion and the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, according to the Axios midterms dashboard powered by Google Trends, as well as new data from NewsWhip.
Why it matters: With elections seven weeks away, some topics more likely to favor Democrats have been losing ground to those that may favor Republicans.
The big picture: Democrats have been laser focused on abortion as a winning issue, but the new data shows a waning interest nationally after the initial surge that followed the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. It remains high in some states and districts, including Indiana, which passed a near total ban last month.
Meanwhile, searches related to immigration and the border vaulted into the top 10 last week, as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis grabbed national attention by flying asylum seekers to Martha’s Vineyard.
Critics of DeSantis, Abbott, and Ducey accuse them of trolling with political stunts. The critics accuse them of that so often, in fact, that the stunts are succeeding, perhaps even beyond the governors’ wildest dreams. Who could have imagined that Martha’s Vineyard’s progressives would have organized a military “deportation” of illegal immigrants within 48 hours of their arrival, for instance, while cheering their departure for the cameras? [See update below.] Who would have predicted that DC mayor Muriel Bowser would repeatedly demand a military solution for their immigrant problem and then complain that DC is turning into a “border town”?
You can’t buy that kind of media coverage. Well, not if you’re a Republican, anyway.
Even if this was a giant troll, it serves a purpose — and not just for some payback on “sanctuary citizens” and limousine liberals in wealthy enclaves. The border states have grown tired of dealing with Joe Biden’s border crisis in the darkness of a media blackout. It’s no coincidence that the main destination of these buses were the media centers of New York City and Washington DC. The arrival of these buses forced the local media to report on the sudden “crisis” in those cities, which then forced the mayors to publicly berate the border-state governors, which then immediately turned the “stunt” into national news.
In that sense, Martha’s Vineyard was the icing on the cake.
Not only has this forced the media to pay attention to the border crisis, it also forces them to pay attention to the long string of lies about it from the White House. The Free Beacon offers a brief video recap of these lies:
And now, the media has unleashed this as a national issue in the midterms. They tried beating Donald Trump to death over the summer in the hopes of making him the midterm question, and then flogged abortion as a “game changer” after the overturning of Roe. Instead, people are once again focusing on the track record of this administration and this president, as they normally would in a midterm cycle, rather than biting on the Democrats’ and media’s distraction campaigns.
DeSantis, Abbott, and Ducey forced them into that position with a few buses. Imagine what a few more buses may do in the next few weeks. Where does Gavin Newsom live, anyway?
Update: Radley Balko objected to this as false “in about four different ways,” but you judge for yourself:
Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker said Friday he is deploying up to 125 National Guard members in response to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sending a group of just 50 illegal immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard.
“Our Administration has been working across state government to develop a plan to ensure these individuals will have access to the services they need going forward, and Joint Base Cape Cod is well equipped to serve these needs,” the governor said.
The national guardsmen will meet the immigrants at Joint Base Cape Cod on the mainland. Buses retrieved the group of Venezuelans from St. Andrews church in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard Friday morning, roughly 24 hours after they arrived on the island from San Antonio, Texas.
Massachusetts removed the immigrants to a military base under the supervision of the National Guard. Perhaps we can quibble about the word “deported,” which I intentionally used for rhetorical flourish, but they were removed from the island under military supervision and into military facilities. I’ll put “deportation” in quotes to note the rhetorical flourish, but I doubt that many people missed the point I was making, unless they deliberately chose to do so.
Update: “Dough Ducey”? Ugh. I’ve corrected it. You can send him some dough if you like, though.