Republicans try to regain mid-term momentum with immigration stunts

When Florida’s Republican governor Ron DeSantis sent 50 emigrants to Martha’s Vineyard, the wealthy Massachusetts island favored by progressives as a vacation destination, it was an attempt to draw attention to a the issue on which Democrats polled voters.

DeSantis’ move this week comes days after Greg Abbott, Republican Party member Governor of Texas, said he sent two buses carrying migrants to the home of vice president Kamala Harris in Washington, DC.

Pollsters say the headline-making stunts will burn the Republican Party base but add that they suggest a sense of despair in a party looking to reactivate a campaign that says installed before the midterm elections.

With Inflation soars Ingrained in Americans’ incomes and with President Joe Biden’s approval rating in the negative, the election in November will be a loss for Republicans – especially as the ruling party tends to lose power. control Congress in the middle of the term.

By early summer, Republicans looked set to take control of both chambers. But after Supreme Court Nationwide abortion protections are overturned and former president Donald Trump is said to be under investigation for alleged mishandling of classified information, the dynamics have changed.

Now Democratic Party member was backed to win the Senate, while what was expected to be a “red wave” victory in the House was set to be a tighter competition, even if Republicans ended up with a majority. number.

“Both sides are playing a grassroots political game, which makes sense in a midterm election when not many independents are involved,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. voting”.

“Immigration energizes Republicans like no other issue,” he added. “But they need it – all the polls are telling us the energy right now is with the Democrats.”

This week presents a chance for Republicans to win the news cycle after an unexpected spike in inflation caught the White House by surprise. On Tuesday morning, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released the figures Shows Consumer prices rose in August, triggering a sell-off in the stock market and a flurry of fresh headlines about soaring inflation.

Biden and his advisers had hoped that the monthly figure would show a small drop in consumer prices. They even scheduled the White House for a “celebration” of his Inflation Act, a package of health and climate measures with a slightly confusing title because it would help deal with very little pressure. current price.

Senior party officials worry that the event, in which thousands of supporters crammed together on the South Lawn waving American flags, will show the administration losing touch.

“The timing of the party was less than ideal – I don’t know why the White House chose that date,” said one attendee.

But by Tuesday night, inflation had been knocked out of the news by Republican senator Lindsey Graham, who focused voters’ attention on abortion after announcing a proposal to ban the procedure. nationwide after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Graham’s announcement not only distracts from inflation figures but also undermines the central Republican argument on abortion, which is a country-by-country issue. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, declined to support his colleague, saying he would “leave that to our candidates. . . to determine for them what their response is”.

Juleanna Glover, a former Republican official turned lobbyist, said: “Graham’s announcement made me feel very uncomfortable for the appropriateness. “I don’t think there’s anything better for the party from this, or for the ladies.”

The tension caused by Graham’s proposals highlights broader divisions within the party, with people like McConnell wanting to focus on the economy while other Republicans – many of whom are playing along The party’s Make America Great Again wing – don’t get involved in social issues.

“The problem for Republicans is that their party is really divided, and they won’t be able to change that before the election,” said Simon Rosenberg, a Democratic strategist.

DeSantis’ move to push migration back to the top of the political agenda helped reunite the party, at least temporarily, on Friday. And it can still draw voters’ attention to an area where Democrats are not doing well. A poll from Siena University and The New York Times on Friday found that 51% of registered voters agree with Republicans on illegal immigration compared with 37% agree with Democrats.

But pollsters warn Republicans will need to do much more to regain momentum less than two months before the election. The Siena poll shows the two parties almost tied on which side voters lean, with a nine-point improvement in Biden’s approval rating.

The underlying economic and political conditions remain in favor of Republicans, according to many experts. But the party needs to find a way to capitalize on them.

“This is a unique moment in American politics,” said Don Levy, director of the Siena College Research Institute. “You have a majority of voters – including half of the Democrats – that say the country is going in the wrong direction. But on the other hand, you have a Republican whose de facto leader is widely believed to have committed a serious crime. “

“The Republicans are in a winning position right now, but they keep stumbling with themselves,” Sabato said.

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