Friday, September 2, 2016

Donald Trump's Immigration Speech Threatens Republican Party's Future

I don't really care about the future of the GOP, particularly if the party continues to morph into a mirror image of the Democrats.

The job of the opposition party is to oppose. Might the Republicans need to spend a few years in the political wilderness? Fine with me. Frankly, we could use a party realignment that shakes up the entire party system.

But see Cathleen Decker, at LAT, "In immigration speech, Donald Trump spurns softened tone and threatens Republican future":
Donald Trump’s aggressively tough speech on immigration buried the notion that he planned to pivot away from the posture that got him the Republican nomination to a gentler position tailored for more moderate general election voters, Republicans included.

It also may have buried his party’s strategy for long-term survival: the effort to appeal to the Latino and Asian voters who are replacing the waning numbers of white voters on whom the GOP has long depended.

Trump’s Wednesday night remarks made clear that he intends to try to win the presidency with the group that won him the nomination — mostly male, white voters who feel stressed by the economy, the rapid changes in American society or both — in defiance of fears even among other Republicans that such a base is not big enough to secure the White House.

Nothing in his speech served to expand his reach among minority Americans. For some Republicans who have worked for decades to diversify their party, the result felt apocalyptic.

Mike Madrid, a California GOP strategist who has sought to broaden the party’s reach among Latinos and other nonwhite voters, declared himself “stunned” at Trump’s approach.

“We’re witnessing the end of the party,” he said. “I now know what my father meant in 1980 when he told me the party he grew up with” — in that case, the Democrats’ — “was no longer the party he felt comfortable in.”

Republicans for decades have debated what was required to attract the minority voters who grow more influential each presidential cycle: Was it a softening of policy on immigration, or merely a softened tone toward immigrants?

Few considered what Trump delivered Wednesday night: a speech that was hardened in both policy and tone.

Trump reiterated his call for a giant wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. He said that his immediate priority as president would be deporting those undocumented immigrants involved in crimes, but also asserted that no one in the country without proper documents would be outside the reach of deportation officers.

He said that even those brought here illegally as babies would be subject to being deported, and that all immigrants here without legal authorization would have to return to their country of origin to seek future return.

He also expanded on a plan to curb legal immigration and said he would set in motion a system by which future applicants would be judged by unspecified accomplishments — a standard that could be unattainable by many current immigrants.

Dividing immigrant families, while unfortunate, might be necessary, he suggested, because “our greatest compassion must be for our American citizens.”

Trump referred repeatedly to “criminal aliens” — words that are taken as a slap by many Latinos — and painted a world in which violent hordes were streaming over the border to target Americans. (Both crime and immigration levels remain near historic lows.)

Earlier in the day, during a quick visit with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, Trump had praised Latino immigrants as “spectacular” and “hard-working.” But by Wednesday night he was casting them and other immigrants as something more akin to a blight.

“No one will be exempt. … Anyone who has entered the United States illegally is subject to deportation,” Trump said. He added later, with a sharp edge, that “people will know that you can’t just smuggle in, hunker down and wait to be legalized. Not gonna work that way. Those days are over.”

The views Trump expressed have an intense appeal among his most loyal supporters, but not among a majority of rank-and-file Republicans.
Still more at that top link.