In Gallup’s final poll before the midterm elections, three issues were considered very important to voters – the economy, health care and immigration. President Trump sounded the trumpet on immigration at nearly every campaign stop, while Democrats did everything to avoid talking about it.
Which strategy worked on election night? To be clear, there were losses and victories on all sides of the immigration issue, but the truth lies beyond the headlines.
Open border voices were loudly declaring defeat for President Trump and his immigration agenda.
Todd Schulte, president of FWD.us, proclaimed the mid-term elections as “a STUNNING rebuke for the leaders of the hardline, anti-immigrant movement, with their champions losing badly” and “a complete disaster for many of the most critical and long-time leaders of the anti-immigrant movement.”
To back up his claim, Schulte pointed to a “few” key races in which pro-enforcement candidates were defeated on Tuesday. He highlighted the losses of Kansas gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach, Virginia Republican Reps. Dave Brat and Corey Steward and Pennsylvania Rep. Lou Barletta, a Republican challenging popular incumbent Sen. Bob Casey.
He was not alone in asserting those four losses proved his assertions.
In a column entitled, “Harsh Republican Restrictionists Lose Bigly in the Midterms,” Reason reporter Shika Dalmia, also tagged those four as upsets of immigration hardliners. However, no sooner had he tagged their immigration stances for their downfall, he conceded that “Stewart and Barletta never really had a shot.”
Yes, all four have strong immigration enforcement records. No, those records were not responsible for their defeats.
In Virginia’s other race, he was facing a female Democrat – and former CIA agent – who hammered Brat relentlessly on health care, pre-existing conditions and national security and did so in a district with a heavy suburban female vote.
In the end, Democrat Abigail Spanberger won by in a three-way contest by less than two percentage points. In Kansas, Democrat Laura Kelly had the advantage of running in a three-way race and having received multiple endorsements from prominent Republican officials in the state.
The open border caucus, however, do not speak of defeats of Florida’s Carlos Curbelo, New York’s John Faso, Utah’s Mia Love, or Minnesota’s Erik Paulsen – all Republicans who signed the discharge petition to reopen the immigration debate in the House.
At the end of Election Day, the argument that immigration hurts may have been the biggest loser according to analyses of exit poll data.
“Pre-election fears by some Republicans that Trump’s inflammatory immigration message would sink GOP candidates in tight races proved overblown,” reported Politico.
While USA Today noted that it was Latino and Asian immigrants who “helped Trump and the GOP” in the midterms.
“The tough talk didn’t seem to chase away immigrant voters in significant numbers,” noted the paper.
According to CNN exit polls, Democrats garnered approximately 68 percent of the Latino vote, slightly higher than the 66 percent won by Hillary Clinton in 2016, but Republicans drew 30 percent of their vote — above the 28 percent Trump earned in 2016.