On The Rush Limbaugh Show, the popular conservative talk radio host discussed Donald Trump’s immigration plan and told listeners that Trump’s meteoric rise in the polls is entirely attributable to his position on immigration, which appeals to a broad array of voters.
In a lengthy segment, Limbaugh laid out several of the policy items addressed in Trump’s in-depth immigration proposal, such as ending birthright citizenship, deporting illegal immigrants, and building a border fence.
Limbaugh argued that Trump’s stance on immigration stands in stark contrast to the extreme position held by the open borders class that runs the country:
Now, the inside-the-Beltway people, when they hear that, they cringe, ‘Oh, my God, don’t say that’s what Republicans [stand for] — oh, God.’ [But the] people are standing up and cheering. They don’t want their country given away, for crying out loud! […] I’m telling you, that one has people standing up and cheering.
Limbaugh explained that Trump’s success is, “due to substance and it is due to immigration,” insisting that, “It’s obvious that that issue is the foundational issue for Trump.” Limbaugh told listeners that Trump has used the issue of immigration to distinguish himself from all of the other Republican candidates currently running:
It’s amazing. Sixteen people are running for the presidency, and… 15 of them are perceived to have essentially the same policy on immigration. One of them is entirely different from the other 15, and he’s the one who’s leading. Now, don’t you think people inside the Beltway should be able to look at this and put two and two together and figure out what is causing this? They can chalk it up to celebrity, they can chalk it up to pop culture, they can chalk it up to circus.
Limbaugh argued that Trump has been able to surpass all other Republican candidates because he has adopted a position on immigration that prioritizes the desires of the American voter above the desires of Republican donors and inside-the-beltway elites:
Both parties, conservative-liberal, Republican-Democrat, I don’t think they have the slightest idea what the vast majority of people in this country think about immigration and what’s happening to the country, and they don’t want any part of it. And of course the establishment is seen as wanting to ramrod their view of immigration down everybody’s throat. Trump’s the only guy standing up against it… I don’t think these people have any idea just how angry, frightened, fearful, a pretty big majority of the people in this country are, that we are losing the country, and we’re losing it because of immigration… And they see both parties in cahoots to make it happen, and they don’t understand it. People that love America do not understand this. I mean, even when you tell ’em, ‘Well, big-money donors say this because they want X, Y, and Z,’ it still doesn’t make any sense. How does that trump patriotism? How does all that matter more to these people, elected officials, than patriotism, love of country, America, shining city on a hill and all that, why does that not matter anymore? And there isn’t a single candidate for president addressing the issue in a way that resonates with the American people, particularly Republican primary voters, not one, until Donald Trump comes along.
Limbaugh explained that Trump’s position represents the mainstream view on immigration: “Trump is not seen as a radical at all in this by average, ordinary Americans. He’s not seen as an extremist. He’s not seen as a fringe kook.” Instead, “Trump’s ideas are not fringe, are not outliers, they are mainstream. They represent the views and the attitudes of the people who make this country work.”
To reinforce this point, Limbaugh highlighted a recent article by The Washington Examiner‘s Byron York which “found a recent academic paper published by Stanford Professor David Broockman and Berkeley PhD candidate Douglas Ahler, and it suggests a majority of the public’s views on immigration are closer to Trump’s than to the advocates of comprehensive immigration reform.”
Limbaugh argued that by embracing a platform of immigration moderation — i.e. returning immigration to lower, more normal historical levels from today’s surging record highs —Trump will appeal to a wide-range of Democratic and Independent voters.
Republican Party officials, inside-the-Beltway officials tell us that we can’t win the White House anymore without getting additional votes besides just Republican votes… We need to get Democrats. We need to get independents… Okay, fine, well, guess what, who’s doing that? Who is expanding the party beyond what it is normally thought to be? Trump, of all people. And yet they’re lowering the hammer on the guy each and every day, when it is Donald Trump who is executing what the Republican Party says they need to win.
Indeed, polling commissioned by the National Republican Senate Committee (NRSC) recently found that a populist position on immigration has mass appeal amongst women, minorities, and non-Republican voters–in addition to the base of Republican voters.
Limbaugh believes that other Republican candidates could see similar success if they were to adopt Trump’s position on immigration:
If just one of these Republican candidates — just one of them — had come out forcefully for America on this immigration business, Trump wouldn’t even exist as a candidate. Well, he might exist, but he wouldn’t have such a free road in this one issue.
In fact, Limbaugh predicted that Trump’s announcement will influence many candidates on the critical issue of immigration:
The me-toos are beginning. ‘Hey, my proposal is just like Trump’s.’ You watch… The me-toos are now starting. Rather than people trying to steal it, people are gonna want to get in on it. It has the potential here to be a genuine movement, so transformative that the inside-the-Beltway people, even while studying it and looking straight at it, still stand a chance of being blindsided by it.
Limbaugh also made the larger point that much of the hand-wringing in the GOP over Trump’s immigration platform is curious given that uncontrolled immigration has put one of the largest states in America firmly outside the reach of the GOP, and if it is not curtailed, more states like Virginia will follow:
If you want to find the future of the Republican Party and the country, look at California. There isn’t a single Republican in statewide office. There never will be in the future. It’s not gonna happen. The Republican Party practically doesn’t exist statewide. The economy in California, you talk about inequality, the haves and have-nots, it’s no more pronounced anywhere in the country than in California.
You don’t have to go back that far where the Republican Party owned it. Routinely elected governors, those governors became presidential candidates. And I’ll tell you when you can tie it to. You can tie the end of the Republican Party in California to 1986, and that was the Simpson-Mazzoli amnesty immigration bill. We’re talking back then 3.9 million illegal aliens granted amnesty. Since then it’s been curtains for the Republican Party, which means constant victory for the Democrat Party. They have shaped that state, and it’s a mess. And it’s a harbinger of where we’re going nationwide.