Establishment GOP Downplays Immigration in 2022 Campaign

Migrants caught crossing the US-Mexico border are loaded into a transport van by US Border Patrol agents in Sunland Park, New Mexico on July 22, 2021. - Many advocates from national organizations urge President Biden to end Title 42 expulsions, a public health order issued in March 2020 by the …
PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images

Polls show many likely swing voters oppose President Joe Biden’s loose border policies, but they also show some establishment GOP activists are trying to shift the 2022 focus away from immigration.

Just 34 percent of independents, and seven percent of Republican voters, approve of Biden’s border policies, according to a June 24-25 Ipsos poll of 527 adults produced for ABC.

“It’s the top issue among Republicans and tied for the top issue among Independents,” said a July 8-15 poll of 1,00o voters, funded by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), which is responsible for election campaign strategy in the House. The NRCC’s polling memo added more good news:

Swing voters are particularly down on the President’s performance addressing border security. Both Independents and Hispanics disapprove of President Biden’s handling of the border crisis by a 23-point margin … Voters in the ticket-splitting districts similarly disapprove (37% approve – 57% disapprove).

… Even more telling is the finding that voters in the battleground districts represented by Democratic Members of Congress still trust Republicans more on this issue (48% GOP – 39% DEM).

The press release issued by the NRCC sought to highlight public worries on inflation despite the pending risk of a massive amnesty giveaway by Biden’s Democrats. The press release began:

1. As inflation fears rise and President Biden’s ratings on the economy slide, Battleground Congressional District voters are putting more trust in Republicans in Congress to deal with these economic issues than Democrats

The next topic cited by the NRCC was crime: “2. Voters say crime rates are on the rise and fewer voters believe Democrats are equipped to deal with it.”

Immigration was mentioned third: “3. The border crisis is a major concern for voters and Republicans have a significant lead on this issue.”

This comes as Biden’s administration allowed 600,000 migrants across the border and also as Biden’s deputies push for multiple amnesties for roughly eight million illegal migrants.

The Congressional Leadership Fund is the major donor fund for House Republican members. The PAC reveals little to the public, but its leaders reportedly also fill out the top positions at a business advocacy group, titled the American Action Network (AAN).

In July, the AAN funded a poll of 51 swing-voting districts and touted inflation and crime:

AAN’s survey found that concerns about inflation and the rising cost of living are near universal. To this end, voters are beginning to blame liberal policies for inflation. A majority of respondents believe recent government spending is the primary cause of inflation. Voters also agree with conservative arguments on crime and on the border, overwhelmingly supporting pro-police sentiments over defund arguments. As conservatives look to block runaway future spending, it is important to connect current massive government spending with the rise in inflation.

That poll was taken July 22-29 of 1,000 registered voters, and it exposed a mix of good and bad news on immigration.

The poll told respondents, “There is a ‘crisis’ at our Southern border with the influx of illegal immigrants and the Biden Administration is unprepared and not taking this situation seriously enough.”

Forty-six percent of likely voters said they “strongly” disapprove of the Biden administration’s border policies.

Another ten percent said they “somewhat” agree that Biden’s policy is unprepared. But voters with “somewhat” opinions are less likely to cast their vote on that issue.

So the AAN’s poll suggests that the Republican party has not offered a majority of 2022 voters a positive emotional incentive to oppose Biden’s wage-cutting, rent-boosting open borders policy.

Similarly, Republican leaders — such as Senate campaign chief Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) and House GOP spokesman Rep. John Katko (R-NY) — have not offered positive promises on migration policy. Instead, they have slammed Biden’s border politics with negative messages, even as Democrats try to pass giant amnesties through Congress. The two Republican leaders focus on border security, drug networks, and crime, not on protecting Americans’ wages and homes from Biden’s cheap-labor agenda.

The same inflation-and-crime negative pitch was offered July 24 by Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), who chairs the NRCC in an interview on Breitbart News Saturday.

To win in 2022, “you’ve got to have the right message … [and] our third battleground poll of the cycle has shown right now, it’s inflation, its rising prices, it’s the crime wave, it’s the border,” Emmer said.

Voters “know that Biden and the socialist Democrats in Congress created the border crisis,” Emmer said, adding:

We didn’t have a border crisis in January 20. Ever since, it’s been open borders. They’ve been flooding across. You talk about how that affects the job market — how about social services? You’ve got hardworking Americans who are paying their taxes, and they’ve been paying for certain social services that are now having immense pressure placed on them by this flood of illegal immigrants into the country, and the lack of a policy on how to actually deal with them and the border by this president.

Look, when it comes to addressing border security, Biden is 23 points underwater with both independents and Hispanic voters. We’ve got to remember — every town is a border town, whether it is drugs or human trafficking, border issues are coming into every community in the U.S. And you know what? Voters are going to hold Biden and the socialist Democrats — especially in the House, but I think also in the Senate — they’re going hold them accountable in the midterms in November of ’22.

One reason for swing voters’ lackluster opposition to Biden’s migration policy is the strong sympathy he gets from college-educated women. For example, the AAN poll showed that 48 percent of college women disagreed with the criticism of Biden’s policy, while only 43 percent agreed with the critical statement.

The support among college women is important because many of the voters who disagree with Biden’s policies are concentrated in Republican-leaning districts. In contrast, many of the pro-Biden college-educated women voters cluster in the critical swing districts needed by the GOP.

Democrats and their investor donors are keeping Biden’s ratings among the critical college-educated women — and among swing voters — by offering a positive but vague message promising a “humane, orderly, and safe” border policy. For example, a Harvard/Harris poll of 2,006 registered voters, conducted June 15-17, showed that voters split 50 percent to 50 percent when they were asked, “Is the Biden administration creating an open border or is it just trying to enforce immigration laws more humanely?”

Yet instead of suggesting policy goals that would win positive, emotional support from a majority of all voters, the AAN report pushes the Republican party to focus on negative angles — crime, inflation, and unpopular House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi. The AAN polling memo suggests:

1. The environment is stable from the last survey in April and Speaker Pelosi remains toxic to the American public.

2. Conservatives have clear winning arguments over liberals on economic issues and concerns. Rising prices and inflation are the cornerstone of this economic argument, with a secondary element focused on the labor shortage due to the Democratic-pushed extended unemployment benefits. A continued push for tax increases to pay for far-left liberal programs should only further elevate our economic arguments.

3. When it comes to the issue of crime, the crisis at the border is clearly a motivating issue for conservatives. A much wider audience is sympathetic to the impact cuts to police budgets are having and will have to the public safety in their own communities.

The negative message helps to distract voters’ attention from the economic damage done by the flood of imported labor.

The damage is done by both the illegal aliens at the Mexican border and the 1.5 million or more white-collar workers who threaten the economic future of college-educated women and their families.

Major Republican donors tend to be wealthy business groups who stand to lose much of their capital to inflation caused by government over-spending. In contrast, wage-earning Americans lose much of their wage income when the government imports too many lower-wage migrants. Unsurprisingly, Biden’s border policies are opposed by 52 percent of college-educated men, many of whom have seen their jobs given to cheap H-1B visa workers.

Many establishment media outlets are also eager to help spin the GOP’s focus away from migration. For example, the Hill embraced the spin with a lede saying:

A new internal poll from the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) shows growing concerns about rising inflation in a number of battleground districts ahead of 2022.

Nine paragraphs down, the Hill report mentioned

The same internal NRCC polling memo showed 45 percent of voters in battleground districts trusting Republicans more to deal with crime, while 42 said the same about Democrats. On border security, 49 percent said they thought Republicans were better able to deal with the issue, while 39 percent said the same about Democrats.

For many years, a wide variety of pollsters have shown deep and broad opposition to labor migration and the inflow of temporary contract workers into jobs sought by young U.S. graduates. This opposition is multiracialcross-sexnon-racist, class-based, bipartisan, rational, persistent, and recognizes the solidarity Americans owe to each other.

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