As President Obama considers going forward with a unilateral amnesty for millions of illegal aliens, even some proponents of immigration reform are warning the political consequences will be calamitous.
“Some Democratic senators are probably not going to come back. And it’s stunning, right, it’s literally like the president is going to put a gun to the head of Democratic senators,” Tamar Jacoby, president and CEO of ImmigrationWorks USA — a federation of small businesses that rely on immigrant labor and are pushing for immigration reform — predicted to Breitbart News.
Jacoby was referring to vulnerable Democrats facing reelection in red states such as Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, Alaska Sen. Mark Begich and North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan.
“It’s all but certain that this is going to be a decisive factor in their elections and [Obama] knows it. Everybody knows it. And they are just making the calculation the long term gain is more important,” Jacoby said, explaining that the White House likely sees the long term gain to be helping to persuade, if not solidify the Latino vote.
“The long term gain is more important, but it is still pretty stunning: President pointing a gun at sitting senators and firing,” she added.
Republican consultant Ron Bonjean of Singer Bonjean Strategies, echoed Jacoby’s prediction, emailing Breitbart that such executive actions on immigration would be harmful to red state Democrats but would contribute to Obama’s legacy.
“Executive actions on immigration would cause damage to Democrats in red states because voters are on the other side of Obama, especially when it comes to amnesty,” he emailed. “Should Obama move forward with an executive order before the November election, it would be obvious that he cares more about his long-term legacy over the interests of his Democratic colleagues.”
And the political fallout from an executive order offering legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants do have some red state Democrats concerned, issuing statements calling for Obama to settle the matter through the legislative process.
On the other side of the equation, Jim Manley, the senior director at QGA Public Affairs and a former spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that he does not expect an executive action that would confer legal status millions of undocumented immigrants will be overly detrimental to red state Democrats in the upcoming midterms.
“I’m not convinced that this issue is going to be that big of a deal when it comes time for the elections in November. I think in the end the elections are going to revolve around jobs and the economy,” he said in an interview with Breitbart. “Having said that I am sure some are talking to the White House and that is something that the president and his team are going to have to weigh as they move towards making a decision.”
According to Manley many Hispanics and Democrats “want the president to go as big as possible,” given the lack of movement on comprehensive immigration reform in Congress.
Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, split the difference, saying that the ensuing political fallout will be a battle of the Democratic versus Republican bases.
“Instead of Spy vs Spy, it will be Base vs Base,” he explained.
“Obama hopes to generate a large Hispanic turnout, and to reverse the usual pattern of Democratic minorities not turning out in large numbers for midterms,” he wrote in an email to Breitbart.
“Republicans hope that Obama’s executive order will outrage their base, producing a larger-than-usual turnout of anti-illegal immigration voters. That’s the nub of it, and election day will be the proof of whose theory was more accurate,” he added.
And pro-amnesty activists are quick to say that an executive order will be politically beneficial not only in the long term but also in the short term.
“While some people who are against immigration reform would certainly be angry. We certainly believe a lot of people will really be energized and go to the polls because it would be incredibly significant. Because we’re talking about the president providing relief to families who really are suffering and the nation has been waiting for a really long time for this,” Andrea Mercado, a co-chair of We Belong Together, an advocacy group for immigration reform, said in an interview with Breitbart.
Meanwhile the National Republican Senatorial Committee is saying that such an action would energize voters to head to the polls and take their frustration with Obama out on Democratic candidates.
“[Obama] has no legal authority to grant ‘executive amnesty’ and little public support to do it,” NRSC spokesman Brad Dayspring said in a statement. “The only conceivable explanation for the President to take such an unprecedented and drastic action would be that he has already conceded the Democrats’ Senate Majority and wants to get ahead of 2015.
“Executive Amnesty would be the political equivalent of nuclear explosion for Democratic candidates like Mary Landrieu, Kay Hagan, Mark Pryor and Jeanne Shaheen. Democrats are terrified of this issue,” he continued. “President Obama’s Executive Amnesty would inject adrenaline into an electorate already eager to send him a message of disapproval.”