A new Fox News poll goes a long way to explain the vitriol leveled at Donald Trump by the media and major figures in the Republican establishment. The overwhelming majority of Republicans agree with Trump.
More important for the candidate, though, is that almost 60 percent of Republicans admire his “guts.”
When asked about Trump’s statement that illegal immigrants from Mexico are bringing drugs and crime into the country, 70 percent of Republican voters say he is “basically right.” Almost half of all voters, 44 percent, also agreed with Trump’s statement.
The same poll, however, showed Americans, including Republican voters, softening their positions somewhat on illegal immigration. Setting aside whether or not their views have changed or are simply more accurately reflected in the poll questions, superficial political observers will likely see a paradox in the results.
A strong majority of Americans, and even a plurality of Republicans, believe the nation should set up a system to make current foreign nationals legal. Just 30 percent of Americans believe we should deport existing foreign nationals, as a general policy.
The key to understanding Trump’s popularity with Republicans among Republicans who also support legalizing foreign nationals is the word “guts.”
For years, Americans and Republicans have been fed a steady diet of happy-talk from national politicians when discussing illegal immigration. It is plain to even a casual observer, though, that Mexican drug cartels are causing enormous problems in the border states and America’s inner cities. Americans are acutely aware, also, that there have been a number of high-profile crimes committed by illegal immigrants who have escaped deportation due to the lenient policies of the federal government.
One does not have to be an opponent of immigration to have very real concerns about security threats arising from a completely open border. Half of all Americans are “very concerned” about illegal immigration raising the threat of terrorism. More than half are “very concerned” that government programs will be overwhelmed by an influx of illegal immigrants.
Despite what the media and Republican establishment may say, it is not nativist or racist to have these worries. Dismissing such concerns so cavalierly, as the RNC is prone to do, gives rise to phenomenons like Donald Trump’s meteoric rise in the polls.
The national Republican Party seems intent on carrying out a party-wide, collective suicide pact. Ignoring the most basic functions of government out of nearly mythic fear of “losing” the “Hispanic vote,” casts the party hierarchy adrift from its actual voters.
It suggests the Republican Party doesn’t understand the meaning of the words “losing”, “vote” or “Hispanic.”