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Obama's Bold Immigration Executive Order -- What Does This Mean for the Election?

How will Republicans respond to President Obama's decision to give young illegal immigrants legal status?

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Matt Lewis, an influential conservative writer with the Daily Caller, tweeted, “That’s why this is so sad. Rubio was working on persuading more conservatives on this issue.This  totally undercuts that trend.” In other words, conservatives will  now oppose the DREAM Act because Obama is for it. Obama should have waited for Republicans in Congress to come around.

Rommey has still yet to weigh in, but you can bet that it will follow one of these two tacts, if not both. So, setting aside the policy for a moment, will these political arguments work? Probably not. The politics argument was the chief pushback to Obama’s gay marriage announcement and that largely fizzled after just a few news cycles. The much-feared anti-gay opposition to that announcement never materialized, and now Obama’s embrace of LGBT rights seems to have been smart politics (again, setting aside the obviously good policy).

The process argument is also probably a loser. Both parties have tried to make these arguments in the past, but they never seem to stick. Most Americans just don’t care, or at least don’t know enough to care, about how something happened, they care more about the fact that it did happen. Republicans tried to sink the Affordable Care Act by attacking the fact that it was passed with “ demon pass” but no one cares about that today — opposition to it is motivated by policy (or rather misunderstandings about its policy). Republicans even  used the demonic tactic themselves once they took control. Likewise, Senate Democrats have tried to earn sympathy points for six years by crying (legitimately) about Republicans’ unfair abuse of the filibuster. But there’s little evidence that average American voters care or will punish Republicans at the ballot box for making Harry Reid file for cloture so many times.


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