King tars all conservatives with his irresponsibility. See, for example, the New York Times article in which his comments appear, which says that King’s views on immigration “now carry substantial influence on the right.” The story cites as evidence King’s longtime advocacy for a border wall and his focus on the dangers of untrammeled migration through the southern border. But he doesn’t own the idea of border fencing, which was firmly within the mainstream of both political parties less than two decades ago. He was not instrumental in the passage of the Secure Fence Act. Nor did he propel immigration to the fore in American politics. There’s a vast gulf between King’s racial demagogy and the sober-minded advocacy of a more sensible immigration regime that balances the national interest with humanitarian concerns. King’s alleged influence on the right, then, shouldn’t be overstated.
There’s currently a push to censure King in the House. We aren’t a fan of this approach because the precedent it creates of the House passing judgment on the speech of its members. It’d be better if Republicans policed their own and the NRCC made it clear that it won’t back King in a primary or the general election in 2020.