Republicans’ obsession with creating a border crisis out of thin air, demonizing immigrants and voicing undisguised racism are now features of the fall midterms. The Post reported in June:
Leading Republican candidates are depicting many undocumented immigrants as criminals and endorsing a proposed wall on the Mexican border, adopting President Trump’s hard-line stance and alarming some who fear the GOP is out of step with a rapidly diversifying nation. …
This year, the Trump-like tenor of the campaign trail is evident in places like Georgia, where a Republican candidate for governor is telling voters he can round up undocumented immigrants and put them in his pickup truck. In Indiana, the party’s Senate nominee shows a grainy mug shot of an undocumented immigrant as he calls for the border wall and a ban on “sanctuary cities.” And in Arizona, a Hispanic Republican running for Congress has defended Trump’s description of some immigrant gang members as “animals.”
Fox News’s Laura Ingraham complains, “The America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore. Massive demographic changes have been foisted on the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for and most of us don’t like.” (And there is no expectation the network will do anything about her comments.) Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) runs a retread of Ed Gillespie’s panned MS-13 ad. President Trump pops up in swing districts to accuse Democrats of favoring “open borders” and “sanctuary cities.” Republicans’ anti-immigrant zealotry plays well in the increasingly nativist GOP, but it’s a loser with independents and Democrats. (Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) touted Trump’s “zero tolerance” plan — until he realized it was a political loser and reversed course.)
Expect pro-immigrant rights groups to strike back. One of the first efforts is an ad directed at the No. 4 House Republican, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), who is quickly becoming the Republican in leadership most likely to lose. A progressive group Equity Forward released polling last week showing, “Even though voters in McMorris Rodgers’ district lean toward Republicans on party self-identification, half of her constituents (50%) say McMorris Rodgers has not done enough on the issue [of family separations] and nearly two-thirds of voters (66%) across the district say they want Congress to act by increasing the accountability and transparency of the agencies and officials overseeing the separated children.” The polling also suggested that “while the vast majority of voters (82%) say that the Trump Administration has a responsibility to reunite these children with their parents, more than half (54%) say they have ‘very little’ confidence that the Trump Administration will meet the deadline to reunite these families.”
The same group is now out with an ad bashing her for doing virtually nothing on the issue:
The ad is narrowly framed — not addressing Trump’s racist remarks about nonwhite immigrants or the GOP’s refusal to solve the “dreamers” dilemma. That may be wise in her GOP-leaning district. In other districts, however, watch for Democrats to hit incumbents on those issues as well as the wasteful, unpopular wall. Hey, if Republicans want to talk about immigration, maybe Democrats should oblige.