Trump’s immigration policies and Trump’s base

Ron Brownstein sums up the strong support for Trump’s hardline (and generally cruel and foolish) immigration policies among GOP elites and the party base:

Among elected Republicans, opposition to Trump’s immigration policies has “fragmented and collapsed,” says Douglas Rivlin, the communications director for America’s Voice, an immigrant-advocacy group that has typically pursued bipartisan legislative coalitions. “If you think immigrants are welcome in our country, you are not welcome in the Republican Party—that seems to be the bottom line.”

One reason resistance has eroded is that congressional Republicans have largely retreated to the parts of America least touched by immigration, and often least affected by diversity. Democrats already hold 31 of the 40 Senate seats in the 20 states where the foreign-born share of the population is highest…

After sweeping losses in diverse suburban and urban districts in November, Republicans now hold fewer than one in five of the House seats where the minority population exceeds the national average, and fewer than one in eight of the seats in districts with more immigrants than average…

All of this means that the voices that might most object to Trump’s direction are no longer in the room when Republicans caucus. “Part of the problem is the members who used to do that, or need to do that, they are not around anymore,” says Davis, who’s now a partner at the Washington, D.C., law firm Holland & Knight. “Most of the members you thought would speak up for this, because of their own political advantage, they are gone.”

But the Republican acquiescence to Trump also reflects the larger reality that the party is now relying on an electoral base preponderantly tilted toward the white voters most hostile to immigration and most uneasy about demographic change overall—what I’ve called “the coalition of restoration.” Those attitudes, with only a few exceptions, are dominant not only among the white Republicans without a college degree who comprise Trump’s base, but also among the college-educated Republicans who have expressed more qualms about other aspects of Trump’s behavior…

For instance, last year, not only did 76 percent of white Republicans without a college degree support building Trump’s border wall, but so did 71 percent of white Republicans with a degree, according to detailed results provided to me by Quinnipiac University. (Meanwhile, nearly three-fifths of the country overall opposed the wall.) In that same poll, nearly three-fifths of non-college-educated white Republicans and just under half of those with a degree supported Trump’s policy of separating parents from their children at the border. (Two-thirds of the country overall opposed it.)…

White-collar and blue-collar Republicans also converge on questions measuring more fundamental attitudes about race relations and demographic change. Polling by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center released last monthfound that 66 percent of white non-college-educated Republicans and 61 percent of white college-educated Republicans believe that the U.S. becoming a majority-minority country will “weaken American customs and values,” according to numbers Pew gave me. (Americans overall split evenly on that question.)

New Pew polling released Tuesday similarly found that more than three-fourths of both college-educated and non-college-educated white Republicans believe that “people seeing discrimination where it does not really exist” is a greater problem than “people not seeing racial discrimination where it really does exist,” according to results given to me by Pew.

Short version: despite recent important partisan shifts related to education, there’s plenty of college-educated white people who are racially retrograde and xenophobic and happily at home in the Republican party.

Photo of the day

Yes, it was horrible, but many of the photos of the burning Notre Dame cathedral are pretty amazing.  Atlantic with a photo gallery:

Smoke and flames rise from Notre-Dame Cathedral on April 15, 2019. 

Hubert Hitier / AFP / Getty

I’m okay with “poor people”; “people on welfare” not so much

When I teach public opinion in my Intro class, I do two versions of a short little survey I made up to show the power of question wording.  Consistently, the most dramatic effect I get is support for federal spending for “poor people” in contrast to spending for “people of welfare.”  I love the looks I get when I ask them to consider that the vast majority of people on welfare are, well, you know, poor people.  I love that Drum just discovered that GSS has been asking both of these questions and made a nice little graph of it:

Lots of takeaways from this, but, as much as anything, 1) the power of political framing and; and 2) the need to be skeptical of any single public opinion question.

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