Republicans could have run on some positive economic news (thanks, Obama!) in the 2018 midterms, but they made the decision to side with hate, spending more than $100 million to run almost 300,000 anti-immigrant ads. That decision ended up backfiring, costing the party votes, pollsters have continued to confirm.
“The combination of the immigration and the caravan issues dominated the GOP economic message voters heard by a 2:1 margin,” the Republican-led Winston Group writes in Roll Call. “That Republicans focused on that instead of the positive jobs report in the last days of the campaign gave Democrats a significant edge with late deciders.” Among voters “who heard an immigration message from GOP congressional candidates, the top issue heard, 35 percent were more favorable as a result, while 59 percent were less favorable.”
In Pennsylvania, gubernatorial candidate and face-stomper Scott Wagner hitched his wagon to Trumpism, releasing an ad on the so-called “caravan” that Donald Trump had been demonizing. The Immigration Hub and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) found that 62 percent of moderate suburban female voters disapproved of the ad. Wagner’s bid for governor was what ended up getting stomped, losing to Democrat Tom Wolf by 17 points.
“Trump and Republican reliance on xenophobia mostly backfired,” said immigrant rights leader Frank Sharry following Election Day. “A majority coalition of people of color, young people and suburban whites won the popular vote, swept the Democrats into control of the House of Representatives,” and it’s a blueprint Democrats must continue.