Conservative Leaders Rally Behind Walker’s Populist Immigration Platform

scott walker
AP Photo

While seemingly the entire political establishment—from the Institutional Left to the mainstream media to even some establishment Republicans—have their long knives out for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker over his new pro-American-worker immigration position, the cavalry has arrived to defend him.

Phyllis Schlafly, the longtime grassroots conservative activist who personally took on the leftist Equal Rights Amendment and has fought against the political establishment from a populist perspective for more than half a century, told Breitbart News she’s pleased with Walker’s new strong stance in favor of American workers.

“I’m thrilled to see that Scott Walker wants to defend American jobs and understands that American voters are directly impacted by immigration — both illegal and legal,” Schlafly, the founder and CEO of Eagle Forum, said in an emailed statement.

Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol agrees.

“Anyone’s free, obviously, to disagree with what Walker said,” Kristol told Breitbart News in an email. “But what strikes me is that the establishment types seem offended that he even dared say it.”

For Kristol’s publication on Wednesday, Jeffrey Anderson wrote a piece titled “Walker’s Smart Play On Immigration.” In it, Anderson lays out that Walker isn’t just right for policy purposes—it’s a political winner too.

“Scott Walker’s recent comments suggesting that the United States’s policy on legal immigration should be focused on what’s good for American workers — a seemingly obvious point that nevertheless has ruffled feathers — offers further evidence of the Wisconsin governor’s political savvy,” Anderson wrote. “When two of one’s strongest competitors (namely, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio) share a weakness on an issue, it’s smart to draw attention to that issue by making clear there is daylight between you and them.”

Anderson showed Walker is proving to GOP voters and independents—and even some Democrats who may cross over to vote for him in a general election—that he can be trusted on immigration. Anderson wrote:

What’s more, every Republican presidential candidate will soon step onto the debate stage and declare that he or she is against amnesty and in favor of strengthening the border first. GOP voters won’t be credulous enough to trust these avowals, but they will be left to search for clues as to who, if anyone, is actually to be believed. Among those who sound reasonable, the candidate who is criticized by the others (and by outside pundits) for bucking the consensus, for being to the right of the others on this particular issue, is the candidate voters will trust.  When Walker says, ‘I’m not sure we need to increase legal immigration,’ GOP voters will hear, ‘I really would strengthen the border and really wouldn’t grant amnesty.’

The message is playing really well in early states, too. Former Sen. Scott Brown—who represented Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate before moving to New Hampshire and challenging Democrat Jeanne Shaheen in 2014—told Breitbart News that, while he’s not endorsing in the 2016 cycle,Walker is right on this issue. Brown emailed:

In New Hampshire, we care about securing the border and enforcing the rule of law. Right now, due primarily to a lack of leadership from President Obama, neither are being done. I know Governor Walker, and have discussed this issue with him. I know he supports legal immigration. I know he also wants to reform our immigration system in a way that will help grow the economy and create more good-paying jobs for the many middle-class Americans that have been left behind during the Obama years. We can accomplish both goals, but it requires bold leadership and a new Republican president.

While Brown lost in the race last November, the race was closer than expected because he fought tooth and nail on immigration and national security in the general election.

Brown was counted out by pretty much everyone in Washington, as Shaheen was polling well ahead of him until the last days of September—but then, when he turned up his immigration populism over the month of October, he saw what was a Shaheen 10-point lead turn into a virtual tie. If Brown had had more time to make his case, too, he might have pulled off the incredible upset and been only the third person in history and first since the 19th century to have been elected to the U.S. Senate from two separate states.

Moreover, Brown’s support will go a long way in the first-in-the-nation primary state. Again, while he’s not endorsing Walker’s candidacy for president, Brown is massively influential in New Hampshire and has won over many inside the Republican Party infrastructure and tons of Republican and independent voters there too—in addition to being considered an authority on immigration matters.

Brown’s not the only major New Hampshire player singing Walker’s praises on this. Howie Carr, the Boston-area radio host and Boston Herald columnist, spoke very highly of Walker on his radio show on Tuesday.

“How is that ‘far right’?” Carr asked, while criticizing the Huffington Post attacks on Walker over his comments. “He’s taking a stand for American workers. How does that make him a right winger?”

Carr then read several articles and took callers from New Hampshire, having a back-and-forth banter about how Walker is standing up for ordinary Americans—laying out how people in New Hampshire are craving a leader who will stand up not only to big business but big labor on this matter.

Down in South Carolina it’s obviously a big issue as well—conservatives and mainstream Republicans there are likely to gravitate to Walker more and more on it as he articulates the case clearly.

Karen Martin, an influential Tea Party activist who’s very close with state power players and is from the Greenville-Spartanburg area of South Carolina, said in an email to Breitbart News:

We want people to take a deeper look at issues and develop stronger conservative convictions. That’s our goal as activists. I have stronger, even different views on a few issues now than I did 6 years ago. Governor Walker is moving the conversation as he examines anew an issue that may not have impacted his state much as Governor, but has a crushing impact on American families … the simple math of fitting a growing multitude of blue collar workers into a shrinking blue collar work force, and how even a lenient ‘legal’ immigration policy may need to be reexamined for the economic health of our communities and nation.

Iowans also stand strong against open borders immigration policies. Elected leaders there including Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are strongly in line with American-first immigration policies, with King being one of the most vocal in Washington and Grassley frequently working alongside Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)—this issue’s intellectual leader—on the matter.

Even National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru—whose wife April is working for the campaign-in-waiting of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, someone who like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) stands with all the Democrats and some establishment Republicans in favor of massive immigration increases—wrote favorably of Walker, defending him from mainstream media attacks.

In addition, National Review editor Rich Lowry has publicly defended Walker. “Walker should take the shots [from the media and establishment] as a compliment, and hopefully, the rest of the field will begin to think and talk about immigration the same way,” Lowry wrote.

That’s not to mention Walker’s outspoken support from people like GOP pollster KellyAnne Conway and conservative columnist Ann Coulter on the issue, as well.


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