Posted by Curt on 12 November, 2014 at 2:00 pm. 2 comments already!


Phillip Klein:

In a recent column, I alluded to the political rationale for President Obama to take executive action on immigration. Briefly, it would be delivering on a promise to the base, with the hopes that any angry or overly aggressive reaction among Republicans would damage their prospects with Hispanics ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

But there’s also another factor to consider — that any such executive action will unify Republicans on an issue that’s typically the source of deep division with in the party, and it could make it easier for Republicans to explain to voters why they haven’t passed an immigration bill come 2016.

It’s worth remembering that whenever the possibility of immigration legislation comes before Congress, it ignites the conflict between the national GOP and grassroots conservatives like no other issue. Conservatives pounce on Republican leaders for any indication that they’re going to surrender on key principles, and Republican leaders wish conservatives would simmer down so as to not endanger their political strategy.

The moment Obama acts unilaterally on the issue (assuming he does), this dynamic will change. Republicans of all stripes will be united in their opposition against what they perceive to be another act of lawlessness by Obama, especially egregious following an election in which his party suffered a historic defeat.

Obama may think he can win over the public by arguing that House Republicans failed to act on immigration, so he was forced to step in. But I’m not so sure that argument will fly.

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