Why Trump is fighting over The Wall

The Wall is smack dab in the center of the movement of voters switching between the two parties in successive Novembers. People who voted for Obama, then Trump, and then voted Democratic in November 2018 are the “switcher” voters today.  A poll reveals that Trump’s Wall is not just aimed at his base, but at the relatively small band of voters who switch.

David Leonard of the NY Times interpreted a poll of switchers this way: “People who voted for both Barack Obama and Donald Trump are closer to loyal Republicans on immigration and gun control — but much closer to loyal Democrats on health care, jobs and education.”

The poll categorized voters along a spectrum of loyal Democrats to loyal Republicans, with switchers in the middle (those who switched in any direction the past few elections. It asked about building The Wall:

“Our preliminary results suggest that many voters who swung to Democrats in 2018 are to the right on the issue of border security. While straight Democratic voters oppose increasing border security, including “building a fence along part of the US border with Mexico” by a 66-7 margin, Obama-Trump voters who swung Democratic support increased border security by a 63-12 margin, up to a 73-13 margin for Romney-Trump voters who swung Democratic in 2018.”

I assume that Trump understands this dynamic, which is why he has raised building a wall to the level of a national crisis. the switchers want The Wall, by a not overwhelming majority.

Abolishing ICE

Switchers do not want to abolish ICE: “Respondents across the political spectrum opposed abolition of ICE. While loyal Democrats narrowly supported outright abolition of ICE, every other group of voters on net opposed abolition. We note that while abolition of ICE is typically couched with a reminder that border-related crimes in fact remain crimes with or without ICE, and would be pursued as such by traditional law enforcement agencies at the Federal, state, and local levels, here we simply asked respondents whether they approved or disapproved of outright abolition. That said, there is not presently widespread political support for abolishing ICE.”

One Response to “Why Trump is fighting over The Wall”

  1. Patrick Pine says:

    I question the simplified claim that Democrats are opposed to “border security” and that Democrats favor “abolishing ICE” – both are not actually Democratic positions.

    But the rhetoric of anti immigration forces, led by the president, have successfully simplified the argument to be essentially “Wall equals border security” and “reining in ICE means abolishing ICE”.

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