Trump Can’t Win The Latino Vote. Here’s Why.

While the pope may be back at the Vatican, speculations on how the “Francis Effect” will impact America are still circulating — especially regarding our heated immigration debate.

In a recent article, the Guardian notes that Latino activists “have been on a rollercoaster” since 2012.  Their mobilization helped re-elect Obama and prevent the deportation of about 4 million people, though the courts blocked his executive action. Now as Trump amps up his anti-immigration campaign with calls for a giant wall and mass deportations, Latino voters have a new incentive to mobilize. 

Since Trump announced his run for the presidency, Mi Familia Vota, a non-partisan group which mobilizes Latinos to participate in politics, has recorded a 66 percent monthly rise in voter registration.

This number, along with the results of the 2012 election, shows not only that Latinos are active participants in the political process, but that rhetoric matters. While Trump’s dramatic and degrading flare-ups may be stirring up frustrations within the base of the Republican Party, there are many indications that the election will soon blow up in his face. 

One of those indications is Pope Francis. His “counter-rhetoric,” if you will, speaks of hope, inclusiveness, and the American Dream — all messages that are woven deeply into the fabric of our nation.  He seeks to appeal rather than to accuse.

Pope Francis (photo credit: Gabriel Sozzi via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Felipe Benítez, a spokesman for Mi Familia Vota, told the Guardian that it had incorporated the pope’s message into campaigns in Arizona, Texas, and California, as well as 2016 swing states Colorado, Florida and Nevada.  Continue Reading

Can Donald Trump Learn from Pope Francis on Immigration?

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Appearing on CNN yesterday morning, Donald Trump was asked to react to comments by Pope Francis on immigration.  The Pope had brought up the subject during a speech the previous day, where he told the American bishops that immigrants “possess resources meant to be shared” and encouraged the bishops to “not be afraid to welcome them.”  Trump responded:

Well, I think his words are beautiful, and I respect the Pope.  And I like the Pope very much.  I will say this: We have a country that is going through tremendous problems.  We owe $19 trillion.  So number one: We can’t afford this process.  We have tremendous crime problems.  As you know, the illegal immigrants are coming in, and you just have to look at San Francisco and Kate [Steinle] or so many other instances — California two weeks ago where a woman was absolutely decimated, killed, raped by an illegal immigrant — a veteran, by the way — at 66 years of age, by the way.  And many, many, you know — thousands and thousands of cases.  We’re having tremendous crime waves.  We have a lot of problems coming in — drugs pouring over the borders.  We have to seal up our borders.  We have to do something about illegal immigration.  And people like my plan very much, and I think it’s a plan that’s going to happen.

Our own Anna Pfaff has done a good job of showing the issues with Donald Trump’s immigration plan, including its potential extravagant cost to taxpayers and the economy, so Trump’s point about our national debt makes little sense when his plan would simply add further to it. Continue Reading

Why Trump’s Immigration Plan Is Literally a Joke

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

The nature of humor is described as a disparity between expectations and reality.  Most jokes are built by laying a path of expectations that we follow until the end, when the jokester throws in a twist—the reality that we never saw coming.

It is therefore very fitting that Stephen Colbert chose to feature Donald Trump on the Late Show’s debut episode, because this definition of a joke also applies to Trump’s immigration platform.

“Yes, a border wall could not be simpler,” Colbert agreed with Trump’s proposal. “Just build a 95-story building, knock it over, 10,000 times.  Then…then you keep the Mexicans out with a door man.”

Trump has led us down a path of expectation, telling voters that several main aspects of his plan—protect the border and protect the American worker—will be simple and beneficial ways to address the immigration question.

But of course, here comes the punch line.  In reality, Trump’s policy proposals are not only far more complicated than he would have us believe, but will have adverse effects on the American economy.

Trump’s first and most talked about principle of immigration reform is his wall across the southern border.  The issue in question here is not whether we should better secure our southern border—as every other legitimate immigration plan proposes—but whether we should build a 2,000-mile wall and force Mexico to pay for it.

First of all, studies by the Pew Research Center show that the number of illegal immigrants from Mexico living in the United States has actually dropped by about 1.1 million between 2007 and 2012.  Continue Reading

Donald Trump: Appealing to Fear

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Carly Fiorina was not the only candidate who faced off with Donald Trump last night over a very personal issue.

The question that sparked the most contention between Jeb Bush and Trump — “Did Trump go too far when he suggested Bush’s views on immigration are influenced by his Mexican-American wife?” — became the perfect illustration of a more subtle point that many of the GOP candidates made during the debate.

Trump does not have the temperament to be the leader of the United States of America.

Bush spun the situation perfectly.  Not only does Trump not have the humility and common decency to apologize for insulting another man’s wife, but Ronald Reagan would be ashamed to share the same party name as this man who calls himself a Republican.

The point that Bush articulated was that Americans are made by choice.  Our country’s founders were born in Britain, but when did they become Americans?  George Washington believed this happened during the Revolutionary War when they chose to sacrifice their individual interests for something greater than themselves; when they developed a national character.

Policy aside, since even Bush calls for secure borders and a path to legal status rather than amnesty, this is an important dimension added to the immigration debate.  Last night, Bush made himself into the heir of Reagan, the man who takes a “hopeful, optimistic approach” to immigration and the real people involved.

The Trump approach, he said, is “everything is bad, everything is coming to an end.”

It is true that this is Trump’s approach to all policy, as he then presents himself as the strong, hard-line candidate who can lead us out of the storm.  Continue Reading

Tonight, I’d Like to Hear Some Real Answers on Border Security

We’ve heard a lot from the candidates about how concerned they are with immigration, how they supposedly drive down wages, and how we need to secure the border and deport everyone who’s already come over.  What we haven’t heard is how our presidential hopefuls define “border security.”  Here are two questions I’d like to see the field asked tonight:

“What steps would you take to stop the flow of illegal immigrants across the border, and how would you pay for it?”

Donald Trump has given a partial answer here by saying he plans to build a wall, but walls need people to man them (to say nothing of the cost of building and maintaining it).  Ditto for Bush, who has actually come out with pretty detailed plans for checkpoints and mobile units to secure our border with Mexico but again fails to tell us how exactly he plans to pay for it.  Are the funds already there, or would we need to increase taxes to fund it?

Do you believe we need to deport the 11 million immigrants already here?  If so how would you accomplish it?

This is the 11 million person question no one wants to answer.  Several of the candidates are of the opinion that these migrants need to go back to their home countries, but no one seems to have a realistic plan to do it.  I’d be interested to see a real discussion on whether we need a mass deportation plan, or whether steps like E-Verify and a temporary guest worker program that allows job seekers to go home on their own would be better for the country. Continue Reading

Carson Talks Abortion, Immigration with WSJ

Dr. Ben Carson (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

The Wall Street Journal interviewed Dr. Ben Carson on what abortion laws he would try to pass as President.  Carson discussed his vision for an end to “abortion on demand” as well as his thoughts on drugs that could potentially be used as abortifacients.  The full remarks are below:

WSJ: What legal restrictions on abortion do you support and would you try to enact as president?

Mr. Carson: I support the law that we have on the books but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t try to change it.

WSJ: What would you try to change?

Mr. Carson: I would try to appoint people who believe in the culture of life and not the culture of death. But you do it legally and through the process that we have in place.

WSJ: So what legal restrictions would you try to change?

Mr. Carson: What would I like to see in an ideal world? I would like not to see abortion on demand.

WSJ: Does that mean no legal abortions at all?

Mr. Carson: I would not like to see any abortion on demand. I don’t in any way subscribe to the idea of killing babies. There’s just no way I can couch it that it should be done.

WSJ: Would you seek to eliminate access to drugs like RU-486 that can end a pregnancy after intercourse?

Mr. Carson: RU-486 and other progestins if you know what you’re doing, say in the case of a rape, can be, can prevent conception from occurring.

Continue Reading

Two Warnings from Rick Perry, As He Goes

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

The 2016 presidential race had its first major casualty on Friday, as Rick Perry made the decision to suspend his campaign amid serious financial struggles and a failure to gain any traction in the polling.

Perry did not leave quietly, however.  In a speech delivered to the Eagle Forum in Missouri, the former Texas governor reiterated the principles which had formed the foundation for his campaign and, most strikingly, issued two warnings to Republicans in advance of the rapidly approaching primary season:

1.) “[T]he answer to a president nominated for soaring rhetoric and no record is not to nominate a candidate whose rhetoric speaks louder than his record. It is not to replicate the Democrat model of selecting a president, falling for the cult of personality over durable life qualities.”

Americans are understandably fed up with a lack of principled leadership in Washington.  And the temptation is great for voters to take out this frustration by supporting an outsider candidate with an appealing personality and grand proposals for change.

However, as Perry points out, we have all seen this play out before.  Lofty promises are rarely kept, and after the last six and a half years, voters ought to be especially skeptical of candidates making grandiose, yet vague, pledges.  Much more important than what a candidate says is what he or she has done.

And on that front, records really do speak volumes.

2.) “[W]e cannot indulge nativist appeals that divide the nation further. Continue Reading

Lindsey Graham Rips Trump on Immigration (VIDEO)

Lindsey Graham gave a substantive policy speech today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., about the threat of a nuclear Iran and why he opposes the recent treaty brokered by the Obama Administration.

Following his speech, he took questions on a number of issues — most of which were foreign policy related. However, one particular question stood out.

Graham was asked about Donald Trump and the issue of immigration. How difficult have the anti-immigrant positions of Trump and others made it for the GOP to attract Latino voters? And how would Graham overcome that if he were to be the nominee?

Graham’s full response can be found in the video below:

…You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that to get to 270 electoral votes you have to do better with Hispanics. And apparently you do have to be a rocket scientist to figure out what’s going on in the Republican Party. All I can say is that if I were a Hispanic voter I would be attracted to the Republican Party of limited government, strong military, faith-based values. But I would have a hard time getting there if I believed they were going to deport my mother.

Let me tell you about life as it is… A young woman came twenty years ago with one child who’s illegal. Her and her husband are illegal. She’s had two more since then. Both are legal under the 14th Amendment. One has joined the Marine Corps. He’s been to Iraq once, Afghanistan once, fighting for all of us.

Continue Reading

Bush Attacks Trump on Immigration

Donald Trump has been taunting fellow GOP contender Jeb Bush for a while about his immigration plan, recently going so far as to call it “baby stuff.”  After weeks of keeping his head down, Bush is finally hitting back, slamming Trump’s $500 billion dollar plan for border security as unrealistic and a waste of taxpayer money:

I’m not going to get into the issues of what he said and I said.  The simple fact is that his proposal is unrealistic.  It will cost hundreds of billions of dollars, it will violate people’s civil liberties, it will create friction with our third largest trading partner that is not necessary, and I think he’s wrong about this.

Bush also took the opportunity to suggest Trump get better educated on border issues:

If he’s interested in a more comprehensive approach he might want to read my book, “Immigration Wars,” which I published four years ago.  I welcome Mr. Trump into the debate.  I think that’s great.  He’s a serious candidate, and he ought to be held what serious candidates need to be held to.  He needs to be held to account for his views.

The New York Times suggests that this is a part of Bush’s new playbook for dealing with Trump: “Hit back, with force and creativity, over and over again in the coming weeks.”  So far, Trump isn’t impressed:

In a phone interview Monday, Mr. Trump laughed at the suggestion that he read Mr. Bush’s book on immigration. “That would be exciting,” he said dryly.

Continue Reading

The Art of the Deal: 2016 Edition

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Donald Trump this week revealed a major policy proposal on illegal immigration, an issue of great concern to Republican primary voters. It’s an issue which has long resisted political resolution, to the frustration of most Americans.  Trump’s plan lays out three self-evident core principles: a nation without borders is not a nation; a nation without laws is not a nation; and a nation that does not serve its citizens is not a nation. Yet some of the plan’s key components — a wall along the Mexican border, paid for by the Mexicans; an end to birthright citizenship; and mass deportations of those in the country illegally and their children (including those who have been granted legal status by President’s Obama’s executive amnesty) — seem to many observers (myself included) to be unrealistic, unconstitutional, and unthinkable, in that order.  Trump is many things, but stupid is not among them.  So what’s going on?

My theory: Trump’s plan isn’t so much a position paper as it is an opening offer. Governor Chris Christie scolded Trump this week, telling CNN, “This is not the negotiation of a real estate deal, OK?”  He’s right that the stakes are much higher, a point Trump would undoubtedly concede.  What Christie misses is that Trump’s whole campaign is a negotiation — with his fellow candidates, with the Republican Party, with the American people — all aimed at closing the deal to “make American great again.”  He’s frustrated by a political system that makes bad deals, or no deals at all.  Continue Reading