Trump thinks immigration is a winning issue for 2020. Is he right?

Fifteen years ago, during the 2004 campaign, I suggested that the deteriorating situation in Iraq perversely helped George W. Bush: “Ordinarily, presidents are rewarded for doing their jobs well. In Bush’s case, however, quiet in Iraq would allow Americans to focus on their pocketbooks. … The latest Gallup poll shows a 54 percent disapproval rating on Bush’s handling of the economy. Bush’s best hope for reelection is for the electorate to focus on his leadership abilities — and one way for that to happen is for there to be trouble in Iraq.”

The economy now is better than it was in 2004, but that has not been reflected in Trump’s approval numbers. Instead, people seem pretty dissatisfied with Trump’s toddler-like style of leadership. One wonders, therefore, if the same dynamic will play out for Trump on immigration. Much like Bush with the Iraq War, it is hard to deny that Trump’s approach to immigration has made the situation worse on the southern border. Nonetheless, there is also a real crisis there, and Americans believe immigration to be one of the most important policy issues facing the country. Unless Democrats can proffer a coherent and credible plan about what to do on the southern border, then Trump will be able to own this issue.