It’s sounding more and more as if Hillary Clinton’s cheering section has pretty much skipped right past the formalities of the election and are planning her first six months in the White House. While I’d maintain that it’s a bit early to be counting those chickens, let’s just say for the moment that she does manage to win this thing. And to put a little icing on the Democrats’ cake, let’s posit that they somehow manage to take control of the Senate (even with a tie) and put Chuck Schumer in charge as Majority Leader. (Hold on… I just got a cold chill down my spine.) So what happens in January?
From the sound of things, many of the people who threw their time and resources into trying to elect Clinton expect to see comprehensive immigration reform making it to her desk in short order. Clinton has certainly talked about it enough herself, so it’s not unreasonable to think there would be a high priority placed on that. But the expectations game is tricky, and as The Hill reports, not everyone is on board with the plan, including Schumer.
Clinton has promised to send a comprehensive immigration reform bill to Congress within her first 100 days in office if elected, and Hispanic groups plan to make sure she keeps her word. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who stands to become the new Senate majority leader if Democrats win control of the upper chamber, has also staked out immigration reform as a top priority, though he won’t discuss timing.
But the prospect of a battle on immigration reform is causing jitters among Senate Democrats.
The party must defend 25 seats in the next election cycle, including seats in Republican-leaning states such as Indiana, North Dakota, West Virginia, Missouri and Montana — all of which Donald Trump seems likely to win.
The battle for the Senate goes through cycles and the rotating classes in the upper chamber are getting ready to swing yet again in the next mid-terms. The GOP had a tough schedule this year, defending more seats than the Democrats, including some they picked up in blue states in the 2010 massacre. If we manage to hang on to the majority it will be a significant accomplishment to say the least. But that worm will turn in 2018, when the Democrats will be defending essentially half of their seats in one go, including some red states.
Do those Senators really want to march into battle with some huge amnesty bill sitting at the top of their resumes? That’s unlikely in many cases. Also, after the rolling disaster which “comprehensive healthcare reform” turned out to be, do they want the next Democratic president to come out of the gate swinging for the fences on another gigantic, “comprehensive” reform package on anything?
Immigration is one of those subjects for Democrats which is a huge winner with their base on the stump and for fundraising, but it’s probably not a battle they actually want to win. In that sense, it’s much like the abortion fight. It gets the locals all worked up to come out to the polls, but what comes next if you actually win? The fallout would be massive and it simply gives the opponent a bloody flag to wave for their own troops for the next generation. If they pass some sort of massive amnesty plan, a divided nation will be on edge and every story of an amnesty receiving immigrant killing or raping someone will be national news. And in the red states, any Democratic senators who voted for the package will be spending their entire campaign war chest defending the vote.
If (God help us all) Chuck Schumer winds up as Senate Majority Leader you can bet he’ll be thinking twice about this. The guy has a horrible policy record, but when it comes to politics he’s not stupid. There are far more appealing fights to jump into during the first year of the next term. An infrastructure or jobs package (while no doubt ruinous to the deficit) will make for much better commercials and less poison in the well.