For the president, immigration is a proxy for many issues — national security, domestic security, cultural change, nationalism, even nostalgia. The president’s rhetoric inflames the left as much as it energizes his loyalists, which is exactly his purpose. Democrats oppose Trump’s policies and cry foul when he seeks to blame them. They also point out that Trump tried to use immigration during the closing weeks of last year’s midterm elections, only to see his party lose its majority in the House.
Immigration will continue to animate Trump’s core supporters and will likely be one of two pillars of his reelection campaign. The other is the economy, the issue he will look to as a bridge to other voters whose support he will need to win what looks to be an extremely competitive election. Here, too, the Democrats appear to be struggling to find their own voice on what should be a central part of a presidential campaign message.
.. The new Battleground Poll by the Tarrance Group and Lake Research Partners under the auspice of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service shows the president holding a clear advantage over Democrats in Congress on which party people trust to deal with the jobs and with the economy. Democrats need to narrow or reverse that margin.
As an insurance policy, Trump has already gone on the attack against the Democrats on the economy, playing the “socialism” card. He has seized on Democratic proposals for a Medicare-for-all health-care plan and a Green New Deal, both of which in their most expansive iterations would require a heavy dose of government intervention and regulation, warning of dire consequences to the economy.
Candidates like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have economic messages built around populist us vs. them themes, including attacks on big corporations and wealthy individuals. Their platforms contain the broad promise to rebalance the economic scales in favor of middle- and working-class Americans, in part through a variety of new taxes on those corporations and wealthy individuals. Warren in particular has offered a fresh list of detailed policies.
Most of the Democratic presidential candidates favor new taxes on the wealthy. But at this stage, most haven’t really said how they would pay for what they propose. The Democrats are often more focused on other issues than on the centrality of the economy in the lives of voters. Another sign of a lack of consensus in the party is the inability of House Democrats to agree on the outlines of a new budget.
The president has begun to set the themes for his reelection campaign. Democrats have vowed not to make the mistakes in 2016 of focusing too much on Trump’s fitness to be president. But they can’t ignore legitimate questions about how they would govern — or how they will credibly respond to the president’s attacks on his issues of choice.
The one-minute commercial commonly known as “Morning in America,” created for President Ronald Reagan’s re-election effort in 1984, is one of the most effective campaign spots ever broadcast. The ad’s haze of nostalgia and optimism helped obscure Mr. Reagan’s lingering political problems with the deficit and unemployment.
The scenes in “Morning” would have fit almost seamlessly into the 1950s sitcoms “Father Knows Best” or “Leave It to Beaver.” One difference is that the ad is rendered in soft, pastel colors similar to those used in “The Natural,” the Robert Redford baseball film also released that year.
.. The subtext is that after 20 years of social tumult, assassinations, riots, scandal, an unpopular war and gas lines, Mr. Reagan returned the United States to the tranquillity of the 1950s.
.. “Morning in America” and several other Reagan TV ads were written byHal Riney of Ogilvy & Mather in San Francisco. Known for his skill at appealing to the emotions, he was determined to demonstrate that negative political ads were not the only kind that worked.
.. Only 10 months before his re-election campaign began, Mr. Reagan’s Gallup Poll approval rating had dropped to 35 percent, equal to President Lyndon Johnson’s at its nadir during the Vietnam War.
White evangelicals are culturally and economically disaffected—anxious to protect the conservative Christian culture rapidly disappearing in America.
How did Donald Trump—a twice-divorced, casino-owning New Yorker who curses during campaign speeches and is prone to church-related gaffes such as accidentally putting cash into the communion plate—win in this southern state where approximately seven in 10 GOP primary voters are white evangelicals?
Trump’s success has demonstrated that the conventional mode of thinking about white evangelical voters as “values voters” is no longer helpful, if it ever was. The Trump revelation is that white evangelicals have become “nostalgia voters:” a culturally and economically disaffected group that is anxious to hold onto a white, conservative Christian culture that is passing from the scene.
.. The best explanation for this unlikely consolidation of white evangelical Protestant support behind Trump is that his appeal to “Make America Great Again” resonates more deeply and powerfully with the group’s anxieties than a checklist of culture war issues or an appeal to shared religious identity.
.. Two-thirds of white evangelicals say that immigrants are a burden to the country because they take American jobs, housing, and health care; and nearly six in 10 say it bothers them when they come into contact with immigrants who speak little or no English.
.. On the economic front, eight in 10 white evangelicals believe the country is still in an economic recession today.
.. His appeal to nostalgia voters has brought together important groups that have historically been overlapping but distinct:
- the voters of the southern strategy,
- the Christian right,
- and the Tea Party.