The hateful crusade at the heart of Trump's presidency is backfiring

The hateful crusade at the heart of Trump's presidency is backfiring
Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

New polling from Gallup finds that 34% of Americans want to see more immigrants welcomed to the U.S., “the highest support for expanding immigration Gallup has found in its trend since 1965,” the organization said. “Meanwhile, the percentage favoring decreased immigration has fallen to a new low of 28%, while 36% think it should stay at the present level. This marks the first time in Gallup's trend that the percentage wanting increased immigration has exceeded the percentage who want decreased immigration.”

We’ve talked about the “Trump Effect,” or how the impeached president has influenced racists to be more openly racist in public. But then there’s another Trump Effect: as he has also spent years pushing horrible anti-immigrant policy after horrible anti-immigrant policy, Americans are viewing immigration more and more favorably—and in record numbers, the poll finds.

“Nearly 8 in ten (77%) Americans think immigration is a good thing for their country,” Gallup found, including 89% of Democrats, 78% of Independents, and 62% of Republicans. Advocacy group America’s Voice noted “Gallup has asked that question 19 times previously, going back to 2001. The current 77% support for ‘immigration is a good thing’ is the highest ever recorded; the 19% support for ‘bad thing’ is tied for the lowest ever; and the 58-point margin between ‘good thing’ and ‘bad thing’ is the greatest differential Gallup has ever recorded.”

Gallup notes the polling was conducted before the administration announced yet another round of attacks on the legal immigration system, and before the Supreme Court’s decision on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). More recent polling has similarly found overwhelming majority support for allowing the program’s beneficiaries to stay, including 95% of Democrats, 84% of independents, and 73% of Republicans. Overall, 85% of Americans say DACA recipients’ home is here.

“Trump’s relentless strategy of divisiveness, race-baiting and xenophobia has always been ugly and morally abhorrent,” America’s Voice founder and executive director Frank Sharry said. “What’s politically relevant in this moment is that his hardline views on race and immigration are growing more and more unpopular.”

“Since the early 1990s, Republicans have wielded immigration as a wedge issue in a cynical effort to mobilize white grievance voters, peel off centrist voters and demoralize some Democrats. Today, as Trump keeps going where few politicians have dared go, he has forced Americans to choose a side. They have,” he continued. “As a result, we may see an election in which Trump’s demonization of immigrants will backfire badly. In fact, it just might turn the Southern Strategy on its head and mobilize progressive voters, peel off centrist voters and demoralize some Republicans.”


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