Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is fueled by public worries about migration, and not much of anything else, a frustrated top establishment GOP lobbyist and strategist told the Washington Post.
Charlie Black worked as an aide to President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush, and as a top strategist in Sen. John McCain’s failed 2008 presidential campaign He’s now a lobbyist and is working with establishment allies to wreck Trump’s advance towards the White House.
“Black said he was briefed on the findings of two recent private focus groups of Trump supporters in Iowa and New Hampshire that showed these voters knew little about his policy views beyond immigration… Black said the focus groups were commissioned by two rival campaigns, but he was not authorized to identify them.”
Those supporters’ single-minded focus on pro-American immigration reform raises the hope that they can be peeled away from Trump by constant criticism of Trump’s unorthodox policies on health-care and other issues, Black suggested to the Washington Post.
“‘Things like universal health care and other more liberal positions he’s taken in the past will all get out before people vote in New Hampshire,’ he said.”
The Washington Post’s article described the growing worry among establishment GOP leaders that Trump — and Ben Carson — are so popular that they are unstoppable in the primaries, but somehow are also so unpopular that they will lose in a landslide to Hillary Clinton.
“Less than three months before the kick-off Iowa caucuses, there is growing anxiety bordering on panic among Republican elites about the dominance and durability of Donald Trump and Ben Carson and widespread bewilderment over how to defeat them.
Party leaders and donors fear nominating either man would have negative ramifications for the GOP ticket up and down the ballot, virtually ensuring a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidency and increasing the odds that the Senate falls into Democratic hands.”
Curiously, no establishment Republicans in the article suggested that the donors and elite should make policy concessions to the GOP’s conservative base.
The GOP leaders didn’t suggest that the inflow of immigrant foreign-workers could be reduced, or that the Pacific free-trade deal could be dropped, or that the party might try to implement a pro-life policy or agree to reduce the federal government’s control over state education policies.
Instead, the GOP leaders only talked about ways to attack and damage Trump and his close rival, brain-surgeon Ben Carson.
“’The rest of the field is still wishing upon a star that Trump and Carson are going to self-destruct,’ said Eric Fehrnstrom, a former adviser to 2012 nominee Mitt Romney. But, he said, ‘they have to be made to self-destruct. . .Nothing has happened at this point to dislodge Trump or [Ben] Carson.'”
Trump, however, is already working to expand his support. For example, he used the Nov. 10 GOP debate to showcase his opposition to President Barack Obama’s unpopular free-trade deal, and to present a moderate demeanor.
He’s also holding fast to core of his popular migration policy, while trying to present it in a way that doesn’t alienate swing-voters.
“We have to stop illegal immigration. It’s hurting us economically. It’s hurting us from every standpoint. It’s causing tremendous difficulty with respect to drugs and what that does to many of our inner cities in particular… we are a country of laws. We need borders. We will have a wall. The wall will be built. The wall will be successful,” he said at the Nov. 10 debate.
“We have millions of people right now on line trying to come into this country. Very, very unfair to the people that want to come into our country legally. They’ve gone through the process. They’re on line. They’re waiting. Very, very unfair to them,” he said.
“Let me just tell you that Dwight Eisenhower, good president, great president, people liked him. ‘I like Ike,’ right? The expression. ‘I like Ike.’ Moved a 1.5 million illegal immigrants out of this country, moved them just beyond the border. They came back. Moved them again beyond the border, they came back. Didn’t like it. Moved them way south. They never came back,” he said.
In 2013, President Barack Obama used the 1965 immigration law to import 2.1 million new foreign workers, even as 4.4 million young Americans began looking for work. Wages stalled, profits rose and the stock market spiked by $5 trillion.
Read the rest of the Washington Post article here.