Endangered Republicans caved to GOP leadership on DACA fix—it backfired big time
House GOP leadership postponed a vote this week on the so-called “compromise” immigration bill that was supposed to provide endangered Republicans with cover back in their more moderate districts. Even though the bill—which included major border wall funding, ended the visa lottery and curtailed family reunification— was already too conservative to pass through the Senate, it would have given Republicans from battleground districts the chance to at least tell constituents they had voted in favor of providing Dreamers a pathway to citizenship.
But Donald Trump not only weighed in Thursday to remind House Republicans that their show vote was an exercise in futility, he came back Friday with a tweet instructing them to “stop wasting their time” until “after the Red Wave!” in November.
House GOP leaders vowed to press forward toward a vote next week, but the only way for them to entice the support of hard-line fence-sitters is by making the bill even more extreme. In other words, whatever cover the bill might have provided to those roughly two dozen endangered Republicans isn’t getting any better, it’s only getting worse.
Meanwhile, Democratic challengers back in their districts aren’t wasting any time reminding voters that, no matter how “moderate” a GOP lawmaker claims to be, as long Republicans control the House immigration reform is never going to happen. Check out the response from the Democratic opponents of Reps. Jeff Denham (CA-10) and Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), both in toss-up districts. Bloomberg’s Sahil Kapur writes:
“Time and time again, folks like Jeff Denham want credit for being reformers, but just like 2014 they have zero follow-through and end up as a rubber stamp for whatever the Republican Party leadership wants,” Josh Harder, the Democrat facing Denham in a competitive San Joaquin Valley district, said in an interview.
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, the Democratic favorite to take on Curbelo this fall, said Thursday that he “betrayed the hollow promises he has made to dreamers” and “handed over all leverage” to give them a path to citizenship.
A combination of GOP incompetence and Trump’s obliviousness has all but killed whatever shot those endangered Republicans had of deflecting from an election cycle that Trump is sure to pack full of brutal attacks on immigrants. As Jack Pitney, political science professor at California’s Claremont McKenna College, noted:
“Cruelty to children offends an important bloc of voters: normal human beings.”