President Trump’s many policy reversals and blunders draw into question his administration’s immigration strategy. But for all the dysfunction, one thing is and has been evident: Trump wants the border enforced. So do the majority of Americans, according to a new poll.
A new Hill-HarrisX poll found that 41% of voters believe that those who cross the border illegally should face criminal punishment — a key Trump administration policy. Only 32% believe they should merely be punished with civil fines.
Democrats seem willfully ignorant of the public consensus around immigration — quite convinced, in fact, that the public agrees with them. Many of the party’s 2020 presidential candidates have openly endorsed decriminalizing border crossings, and all 10 of the candidates on the second Democratic primary debate stage said they’d additionally provide taxpayer-funded healthcare to illegal immigrants.
For Democrats, the 2020 election is about who can beat Trump. Whoever wins the nomination must look, sound, and campaign differently from the president. But this all-consuming effort to be better than Trump has led many of the candidates to stick their heads in the sand when it comes to issues that votes actually care about, like immigration.
The Democratic Party is increasingly hostile to immigration enforcement, and as 2020 approaches, it will become even more so. This will only help Trump. He’s always benefited when his opponents go too far, and their overreach will give him more standing among Americans who voted for the wall, stricter border enforcement, and limited immigration.
If Democrats had learned anything from 2016, they would be more cognizant of their vulnerabilities on immigration. They would meet Trump and the GOP halfway on the battlefield of ideas. But agreeing with him, even in part, would be political suicide in a primary contest that is built on defiance toward Trump and everything he stands for. But if Democrats do manage to win the White House, this stubborn opposition to the public’s will won’t be what does it.
By Kaylee McGhee for Washington Examiner
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