We’re just 5 short days out from Election Day next week, and both sides are making a final push toward the goal line, sparing no narrative or issue from the fray. President Trump has gone all-in on the immigration push, expanding his call for troops on the border to upwards of 15,000, which caught the Pentagon by surprise. On the other side of the partisan coin, Democrats continue to push the message that they will serve as a check against the President, a way to punish him for his rhetoric and the divisiveness they see pulling the country apart.
Yahoo News reports on the border situation and how the President is doing his best to push the issue with voters around the country:
President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the number of military troops deployed to the U.S.-Mexican border could reach 15,000 — roughly double the number the Pentagon said it currently plans for a mission whose dimensions are shifting daily.
The Pentagon said “more than 7,000” troops were being sent to the Southwest border to support the Customs and Border Protection agents. Officials said that number could reach a maximum of about 8,000 under present plans.
The troop numbers have been changing at a dizzying pace, with Trump drawing a hard line on immigration in the lead-up to the midterm elections.
Couple the migrant caravan issue with the President’s declaration that he wants to end birthright citizenship (commonly known as “anchor babies”) and it’s clear he has decided this is a winning issue which Democrats don’t have a strong response to.
Retiring Senator Bob Corker, of Tennesee, a continual Trump-nemesis, doesn’t like what he’s seeing within the GOP, according to The Hill:
“We all know what’s happening. It’s all about revving up the base, using fear to stimulate people to come out at the polls,” Corker told reporters in Nashville on Wednesday.
Corker added that the caravan is a “football” issue and recalled how a friend recently asked him if he thought it was being funded by a wealthy Democratic donor.
“I said, are you kidding me? If anybody’s funding it, it’s some Republican donor, because it has obviously turned into an election issue that has benefited the Republican side,” Corker said.
One news outlet is accusing the President of spreading “fake news” on the impact of the migrant caravan and condemns his new ad which plays on the same fears:
In one of the most blatant and misleading attempts ever to scare American voters days before an election, President Trump is warning in speeches, tweets, interviews and ads that scary, deadly migrants are about to storm our southern border.
Reality check: Almost none of what he warns is demonstrably true, at least in terms of scale and scope of threat.
Shepard Smith of Fox News said it best this week when he looked into the camera and assured America: “There is no invasion. No one’s coming to get you. There’s nothing at all to worry about. … We’re America. We can handle it.”
What about the voters on Election Day? We have to go across the pond, to the UK Express, to find that polling shows Trump’s decision to send troops to the border appears to be a winning issue:
In a YouGov poll of 1,500 US adults, 28 percent said that all of the immigrants in the caravan should be rejected from entering the United States, whilst 38 percent felt that only immigrants with a valid claim for asylum should be accepted.
In the same poll, 33 percent of those asked strongly approved of the President sending troops to the US-Mexico border, whilst 11 percent approved somewhat.
A further 11 percent had no strong opinion, 23 percent disapproved strongly and 12 percent were unsure.
It’s one poll, but it comprises at least 44% who “somewhat” or “strongly” approve of Trump sending troops to the border. Not amazing numbers, but maybe enough to move the needle in red states where the breakdown would show much greater support among the President’s base.
As for Democrats, they’re having a difficult time figuring out how to respond to the issue, which is probably why Trump continues harping on it, according to the Washington Post:
Democrats are struggling to respond to President Trump and his Republican allies, who are casting the caravan of thousands of migrants headed toward the U.S.-Mexico border as a failure of Democrats to help enact immigration policy in the GOP-controlled Congress.
Some Democrats said Trump is vulnerable to a counterattack on his core campaign issue given that his policies failed to reduce the number of unauthorized immigrants. Yet party leaders and Democratic candidates have largely been silent ahead of the midterm elections, refusing to engage with Trump.
The Democratic and Republican strategies reflect the path each party has charted with two weeks till Nov. 6. Republicans are hoping to retain their Senate majority and limit losses in the House by playing on fears of migrants pouring into the country to rally conservatives, a strategy that helped propel Trump to the presidency in 2016.
Democrats, deeply divided on immigration, are trying to maintain a laserlike focus on health care and the GOP threat to protections for people with preexisting medical conditions, envisioning that as the issue that will determine control of Congress.
As the story notes, Democrats would rather talk about anything else — not immigration. It’s typically a losing issue for them, and since issues like tax cuts and health care haven’t turned into successful GOP talking points, the President is sticking with a tried-and-true method to turn out his base.
Expect this to continue right up to Tuesday night.