Obama Suckered Republicans Into an Immigration Trap—And They Charged Right In


Ed Kilgore notes that Latino approval of the Republican Party—already low in 2013—plummeted even further in 2014 when they spent all year pandering to their base and blocking any chance at some kind of comprehensive immigration reform. And it’s gotten even worse since then:

The marginally improved performance of the GOP among Latinos in the 2014 midterms probably tempted some to think disgruntlement with Obama would trump estrangement from the elephant party. But since then, of course, the president’s executive action on immigration provided fresh impetus to “deport ’em all” messaging, and the jockeying for position during the Invisible Primary for 2016 is not going to help.

I don’t have any big point to make here. I just wanted to highlight the passage above. In the same way that, say, Osama bin Laden wanted two things on 9/11—to attack the US and to provoke an insane counterreaction—President Obama wanted to accomplish two things with his immigration actions. Obviously he thought it was the right thing to do. Beyond that, though, he wanted to gain Latino support for Democrats and provoke an insane counterreaction from Republicans. He succeeded brilliantly on both counts. Republicans fell swiftly into his trap, and they show all signs of falling even further as primary season heats up. By the time 2016 rolls around, even a moderate guy like Jeb Bush is going to be so tainted by Republican craziness on immigration that he’ll get virtually no support from the Latino community.

It didn’t have to be this way. Republicans could have responded in a more measured way that would have blunted Obama’s actions. Instead they let themselves get suckered. Obama must be laughing his ass off right about now.