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Could Lincoln be Elected Today? Obama's Immigration Surprise

News from the Votemaster

Obama's Action on Immigration Opens Fissure within Republican Party

Yesterday President Obama announced that his administration would no longer deport illegal aliens who were brought to the United States as children and who had graduated from high school or served in the Armed Forces. This instantly brought howls from the Republican Party--mostly because it creates a real predicament for them. On the one hand, their natural reaction is to condemn anything Obama does, so what some Republicans are saying is that people who broke the law and came to the U.S. illegally should be punished by being deported. From a legal point of view, that is a completely defensible argument. The trouble is that such a statement plays extremely poorly with Latino citizens (=voters), who strongly support what Obama did and want him and Congress to go further in that direction.

On the other hand, supporting Obama would be admitting he did something right and would bring howls of protest from many conservative Republicans who want the government to deport all the illegals. Mitt Romney said they should be denied work so they will self deport.

When Republicans like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) say the executive order implementing the new policy is "welcome news" and Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) call it "possibly illegal," you begin to see that Obama has succeeded in tying the Republicans in knots.

Romney, especially, is in a real pickle. If he attacks the decision, he loses the Latino vote (which probably means losing Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico). If he supports the decision, those voices in the Republican Party who said he isn't a real conservative are going to be yelling "I told you so." So what is he doing? He is trying to avoid the content of the decision by making a process argument: it is up to Congress to set immigration policy, not the President. The trouble with that argument is it is unlikely to satisfy the Latino community and the question he is going to have to face very soon is "Do you want Congress to pass a law allowing children brought illegally into the country to stay if they have been good citizens or should they be deported?" It is doubtful he can avoid addressing this underlying issue for long. No matter which side he picks, he alienates some people. If he refuses to pick sides, Obama is going to attack him as gutless, saying we need leaders who can make tough decisions, not ones who pass the buck to a fractious Congress.

All in all, it was a very smart move for Obama. This very clearly shows why incumbent Presidents since WWII have won reelection about 70% of the time. They have the power to set the agenda to topics that favor them. In an instant, Obama changed the national discussion and put him on the side of the fastest growing minority in the country at the same time it boxed Romney in. Of course, as soon as the Supreme Court rules on the ACA, this topic will be pushed off the front pages, but Latinos are not going to forget who is on which side. Romney's window to show Latinos that he cares about them and show independents that he is willing to stand up to the right wing of his party will only last a week or so at most. Then the chance will be gone.

Ohio Speeches by Obama and Romney Preview the Campaign Ahead

While many reports of the speeches on the economy given by Obama and Romney on Thursday said they contained nothing new, closer inspection shows little they said and did was accidental. For starters, although both spoke in Ohio, Obama spoke in Cleveland, an urban center in the rust belt full of blue collar workers whose votes he desperately needs. He was also clearly interested in revving up interest and turnout among his base voters by discussing government programs that led to the Internet and GPS and how only the government is willing to take on far-out research with no immediate payout but ultimately immensely important.

Romney, in contrast, spoke in Cincinnati, in the southern part of the state, which is far more rural than the north. He didn't offer any new initiatives. He just attacked Obama's policies over and over as failures. Clearly his theme for the coming months is to constantly attack Obama, rather than offer his own vision for the future.

Ginsburg Hints at Sharp Disagreements Ahead

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said yesterday: "Those who know don't talk. And those who talk don't know." She didn't drop any hints on how the Supreme Court will rule on the ACA or any of the other controversial cases it is expected to decide on in the next 2 weeks. She did say there will be sharp disagreements on some cases though. That is probably Court-Speak for 5-4 decisions with all the Republican appointees in the majority and all the Democratic appointees in the minority. It is virtually certain that a number of these cases are going to dominate the news and the campaigns for week.

Today's Presidential Polls

A new Rasmussen poll puts Obama ahead again in Michigan, replacing an earlier EPIC-MRA poll that had Romney ahead. Somehow it seems very unlikely that Romney can win Michigan after saying: Let Detroit Go Bankrupt. The EPIC-MRA poll was probably just a statistical outlier. Such polls happen regularly and do not indicate anything wrong with the pollster.

State Obama Romney   Start End Pollster
Michigan 50% 42%   Jun 14 Jun 14 Rasmussen

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