Discover more from Hopium Chronicles By Simon Rosenberg
Trump Goes To War Against Immigration and Immigrants - It's Another Big 2024 Problem for Republicans
Also, Resources To Savor Our Remarkable Electoral Wins Throughout 2023 - Hopium Abounds!
Happy Monday all. This week America hosts the annual gathering of APEC, the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation organization, 21 countries in all. Important geopolitical week for President and Biden and the US. As these foreign leaders arrive in San Francisco in the coming days, they will see a strong American President, with the best economy in the G7 and ably leading us through daunting global challenges, and a vibrant and unified Democratic Party fresh from winning elections across the US, again. The Republican Party they will see, on the other hand, will be overflowing with MAGA, extremism and division, ready to shut the government down; eager to pull the US from NATO; inexplicably blocking routine appointments to DOD/State/DOJ in a time of rising global conflict; turning off critical domestic security programs; and promising to end American democracy. This unwelcome contrast will reinforce one of the central tenets of Hopium - that America is strong and prosperous when led by Democrats; and if anything is in decline it is one of our two political parties, not this great country itself.
2023 Has Been A Very Good Year for Democrats - Some Resources
Video Presentation - My 2023 Election Recap With Sam Cornale, Executive Director of the DNC
Words/News/Magazines - You can find me in Ron Brownstein’s Atlantic essay, Republicans Can’t Figure It Out, in this very smart Financial Times piece, Will US voters believe they are better off with Biden?, in Jennifer Rubin’s new Washington Post column, A wasteland: Political coverage ignores the threat to democracy and this new USA Today story, How Did Democrats Win Big Despite Biden’s Bad Polls? Also Be sure to read Tom Bonier’s new NYT op-ed, American Elections Are About Abortion Now.
Tues, 7pm ET - Simon speaks to NOPE’s gathering, “Looking Back at Virginia and Forward to 2024. Register here.
Thur, 1pm ET - The Hopium Chronicles paid subscribers gather for their monthly discussion with Simon. Register here. Regular members of the Hopium community can upgrade to a paid member below if you would like to join us. Big wins to celebrate!
Tues, Nov 28th 7pm - NC Dem Party Chair Anderson Clayton Joins The Hopium Community - Come meet the dynamic new chair of our most important 2024 expansion state. Register here.
Trump Goes To War Against Immigration and Immigrants - It’s Another Big 2024 Problem For Republicans - Here at Hopium we talk about how “Abortion and Treason” will make it very hard for Republicans to win in 2024. It’s possible Trump is now adding a third item to that rancid list - mass deportation. From a new NYT article, Sweeping Raids, Giant Camps, and Mass Deportations: Inside Trump’s 2025 Immigration Plans:
Former President Donald J. Trump is planning an extreme expansion of his first-term crackdown on immigration if he returns to power in 2025 — including preparing to round up undocumented people already in the United States on a vast scale and detain them in sprawling camps while they wait to be expelled.
The plans would sharply restrict both legal and illegal immigration in a multitude of ways.
Mr. Trump wants to revive his first-term border policies, including banning entry by people from certain Muslim-majority nations and reimposing a Covid 19-era policy of refusing asylum claims — though this time he would base that refusal on assertions that migrants carry other infectious diseases like tuberculosis.
He plans to scour the country for unauthorized immigrants and deport people by the millions per year.
To help speed mass deportations, Mr. Trump is preparing an enormous expansion of a form of removal that does not require due process hearings. To help Immigration and Customs Enforcement carry out sweeping raids, he plans to reassign other federal agents and deputize local police officers and National Guard soldiers voluntarily contributed by Republican-run states.
To ease the strain on ICE detention facilities, Mr. Trump wants to build huge camps to detain people while their cases are processed and they await deportation flights. And to get around any refusal by Congress to appropriate the necessary funds, Mr. Trump would redirect money in the military budget, as he did in his first term to spend more on a border wall than Congress had authorized.
In a public reference to his plans, Mr. Trump told a crowd in Iowa in September: “Following the Eisenhower model, we will carry out the largest domestic deportation operation in American history.” The reference was to a 1954 campaign to round up and expel Mexican immigrants that was named for an ethnic slur — “Operation Wetback.”
The constellation of Mr. Trump’s 2025 plans amounts to an assault on immigration on a scale unseen in modern American history. Millions of undocumented immigrants would be barred from the country or uprooted from it years or even decades after settling here.
Such a scale of planned removals would raise logistical, financial and diplomatic challenges and would be vigorously challenged in court. But there is no mistaking the breadth and ambition of the shift Mr. Trump is eyeing.
Despite being inhumane and jawdroppingly cruel, this plan is now a major political problem for an already struggling Republican Party for at least three main reasons:
Raids and Mass Deportations Are Deeply Unpopular - We have decades of polling on the forced removal of the 10m+ undocumented immigrants (almost all of whom are employed and pay taxes) in the US, and it is wildly unpopular, perhaps even more so than “abortion bans.” One example - in the 2016 exit polls, in the election that gave Trump the Presidency, the American people choose “offer legal status” to “deported to home country” 70%-25%. Republicans may have a slight advantage on immigration issue right now, but mass deportation is seen as an extreme position by the American people (rightly so). It was so unpopular that the anti-immigration movement dropped mass deportation as a goal, moving to the softer “attrition through enforcement,” or “self-deportation,” political strategy more than a decade ago.
Trump’s plan is another sign of how extremism and extremists have overtaken the party of Lincoln and Reagan.
As I document here, since 2005, when the national Republican Party began adopting a far harder line on immigration (Reagan, W. Bush and McCain were all immigration reformers), the 4 battleground states of the Southwest, AZ/CO/NM/NV, have drifted away from the Republican Party, becoming far bluer. In the last 2 elections we’ve seen the best Democratic performance in that region since the 1940s and 1950s, and a reminder that Biden got within 5 points of Trump in Texas in 2020. In the heavily Mexican-American parts of the country in particular raids and mass deportations are wildly unpopular.
It Was A Plan Like This That Caused The Big Hispanic Protests Across the US in 2006 - In 2005 the Republican House of Representatives bucked their President, George W. Bush, and passed a bill that called for the rounding up and mass deportation of the 11m undocumented immigrants in the country. It was the moment when the party of the Sun Belt and the West went from pro-immigration to deeply restrictionist. Over the next year huge protests against this bill and mass deportation erupted across the US, and Republicans became so spooked that we were able to pass a “comprehensive immigration reform” bill through a Republican Senate in 2006. That bill, like the 2013 immigration reform bill we passed through the Senate, was never taken up by the Republican House and it died.
But those protests did something important politically - after years of Republican gains with Hispanics under W. Bush, Hispanics ran back into the arms of Democrats in 2006 and they have essentially stayed there ever since. In the 2006 midterms Democrats won 69% of the Hispanic vote, among our best performances in recent decades.
In the four Presidential elections leading up to 2006 Democrats averaged 47% of the vote, and in 2004 we lost AZ/CO/NM/NV. In the four Presidential elections since 2006 Democrats have averaged 51% and in 2020 we won AZ/CO/NM/NV at the Presidential level for the first time since 1940. As the Hispanic population has grown across the US and in these states, our net vote margin with Hispanic voters keeps increasing, even if we lose a few points in vote share. As I show here, in 2004 the net Hispanic vote margin for Democrats was about 700,000 votes nationally, meaning we won 700,000 more Hispanic votes nationally than Republicans. In 2020 that number was at least 4.5m net votes across the US, with this same dynamic playing out in each state with large Hispanic populations (except Florida of course).
My instinct is that whatever advantage Republicans had on immigration, and whatever small gains they had made with Hispanic voters in recent years, is now gone.
This Plan Will Wreck The American Economy - In a time of existing wide scale worker shortages, removing 10-15m workers from the American economy in a short period of time would be national economic suicide, and will be seen that way by the business community in DC and in the battleground states. It’s just totally insane and extremist policy no matter how you look at it, and I think it could become as much of a drag on the GOP brand as abortion is now.
For a party which has lost the popular vote in 7 of the last 8 elections, lost the popular vote to Democrats 51%-46% over the past 4, lost the 2018/2019/2020/2022 and 2023 elections, has deep performance issues across the country even in red states since Dobbs, embracing mass deportations seems like a colossal political error.
It is another reason why I think our goal in 2024 should be not just to win, but to really go on offense, get to 55, and make this election an historic repudiation of the worst and most dangerous political party in our history. We can do this people!
Onward/Adelante - Simon