Call it the Trump Challenge: Will the Donald’s GOP rivals be as specific as he has on the question of what should happen to the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country? Trump’s position is clear, or at least somewhat clearer than that of many Republicans: He would deport them all in a “very humane fashion.”
Trump’s GOP rivals are now getting pinned down on the question of whether they agree with him on this and other immigration matters. Here’s a very good example. Fox News’ Megyn Kelly grilled Senator Ted Cruz on whether he agrees with another aspect of Trump’s plan — the pledge to do away with birthright citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants born here. Here’s Politico’s account:
“What would President Cruz do? Do American citizen children of two illegal immigrants, who are born here, the children, get deported under a President Cruz?” Kelly asked.
Donald Trump, she said, “has answered that question explicitly.”
“Megyn, I get that that’s the question you want to ask,” Cruz said. “That’s also the question every mainstream media liberal journalist wants to ask.”
Asked whether it is an unfair question, Cruz said that it is “a distraction” from solving the issue.
“You know, it’s also the question that Barack Obama wants to focus on,” Cruz retorted.
“Why is it so hard? Why don’t you just say yes or no?” Kelly asked.
Cruz’s response: “Because, Megyn, we need to solve the problem. And the way you solve the problem is you focus where there’s bipartisan agreement first. Once we’ve secured the border, once we’ve proven we can do this, once we’ve stopped the Obama administration’s policy of releasing 104,000 violent criminal illegal aliens in one year. Once we’ve solved that problem, then we can have a debate, then we can have a conversation.”
Cruz’s dodge — he says we have to secure the border before we can even discuss Kelly’s question — is very similar to the approach Scott Walker has taken. As I’ve said before, I think Trump’s GOP rivals should be pressed more on whether they agree with his vow to deport 11 million than on whether they agree with him on birthright citizenship, because the problem of what to do about the 11 million is the core dilemma underlying our impasse on this issue. Most of Trump’s GOP rivals continue to fudge on that core question.
But Kelly is absolutely right to note, in the context of the birthright citizenship debate, that Trump has answered questions “explicitly,” while Cruz won’t. This illustrates, once again, that Trump’s immigration plan, if you can call it that, has had the effect of making GOP evasions on the overall immigration issue much harder to sustain.
* GAMING OUT SENATE MATH ON IRAN DEAL: Carl Hulse looks at the math in the Senate on the Iran agreement, concluding it’s unlikely that foes will stop it. It’s even possible that foes will fall short of getting 60 votes against it, meaning a veto-override fight would be averted:
So far, two Democrats…have come out against the agreement. All 54 Republican senators could be expected to support efforts to end a filibuster, leaving opponents four votes short of the required 60. That means opponents would need to secure the support of at least four of about a dozen Democrats who have yet to disclose their position.
Right now around 33 Dem Senators are either backing the deal or leaning towards that; if that holds, supporters would need around two-thirds of the remaining Dems to get support necessary to deny Republicans 60 votes. Difficult, but not impossible.
* ONE REPUBLICAN MIGHT SUPPORT THE IRAN DEAL: The Hill reports that GOP Senator Susan Collins has yet to take a position on the Iran agreement, and notes that all indications are that she’s genuinely undecided. If so, that would mean only one Republican in both chambers of Congress (no House Republican has come out for it yet, and that’s expected to hold) was willing to break with the GOP and back it.
* UNDECIDED DEMS UNDER ENORMOUS PRESSURE: The Hill also takes a look at the remaining undecided Senate Democrats, noting this:
Many lawmakers facing angry constituents on both sides of the issue might, at a minimum, want to avoid being seen as the deciding vote that put the Iran deal on top. Such votes can be used in countless future political ads. And while there is safety in numbers, there’s no certainty. A number of Democrats, some of whom lost reelection bids, have been attacked as the deciding vote on ObamaCare, for example.
Okay…but what Democrat would want to be seen as the deciding vote that sank the deal?
* DONORS LINE UP BEHIND HILLARY: With Joe Biden still mulling a run for president, Reuters interviews major Dem donors and finds that they’re mostly united behind Hillary Clinton. Some say Clinton is more competitive because she’s younger and a woman; others say that Biden’s moment has passed.
It’s hard to see how Biden could catch up in fundraising at this point, especially given this conclusion from Reuters: “So far, no mega donor has emerged to back Biden.”
* LIBERAL GROUPS KEEP UP HEAT ON CLINTON: A coalition of progressive groups, including Democracy For America, CREDO Action, and MoveOn, is sending a letter to Hillary Clinton today demanding that she explain how she would regulate the so-called “revolving door” between Wall Street and government.” The letter notes that Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley have supported banning “golden parachutes” to execs who enter government.
It’s the latest sign that lefty groups will continue to try to push Clinton into the Sanders/Elizabeth Warren camp when it comes to regulating Wall Street, though it’s unclear whether they’ll succeed.
* LATINO MEDIA IS ALL OVER TRUMP: The New York Times reports that the Latino media is covering Donald Trump extremely aggressively, and crucially, the focus is very much on his statements and policy pronouncements about immigration:
About 58 percent of mentions of Mr. Trump in mainstream news media — broadcast, cable, radio and online outlets — in the past month have focused on immigration, while on Spanish-language news programs, the proportion is almost 80 percent, according to an analysis by Two.42.Solutions, a nonpartisan media analytics company.
What remains to be seen is whether Trump’s bluster will color Latinos’ views of the GOP, and how far the eventual nominee will have gravitated towards his positions along the way.
* AND TRUMP KICKS OUT RESPECTED LATINO ANCHOR: Last night Donald Trump kicked journalist Jorge Ramos out of his press conference after the two got into an exchange over Trump’s immigration “plan.” Ramos has been described as the “Walter Cronkite of the Latino media.” Trump described him as a “very emotional person,” and said, “go back to Univision!”
That should send Trump’s numbers soaring ever higher among GOP primary voters!