Don’t Blame Trump for the GOP’s—and America’s—Hostility to Immigration

Don’t Blame Trump for the GOP’s—and America’s—Hostility to Immigration
Former President Donald Trump, seen in reflection, announces he is running for president in 2024, in Palm Beach, Fla., Nov. 15, 2022 (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

Former U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intention to enter the 2024 presidential race this week. Despite the Republican Party’s disappointing showing in the midterm congressional elections last week, Trump curiously felt the time was right for him to throw his hat in the ring, declaring, “ We will persevere ... and in the end we will win. Our country will win.”

But Trump is pushing against the tide within his own party. He has been the target of much scorn from leading Republicans following last week’s election results. The candidates he supported performed poorly at the polls. One of the few who did well, Senator-elect J.D. Vance in Ohio, is the exception that proves the rule, winning by a relatively narrow margin in a state that otherwise saw a host of convincing Republican victories. Prominent Republican-leaning media outlets are now questioning Trump’s decision to run again, although Trump himself fired back with his typical bluster, claiming that his endorsed candidates did well at the polls and that the media is only quoting “enemies and losers.”

Whether or not Trump is on the way out remains to be seen. But the policy views he espoused first as a candidate in 2016 and then as president from 2017 to 2021 are not. His populist strain of politics, with its nationalistic and xenophobic underpinning to a host of policies that aim to support the “working class” against “the elite,” is likely to continue even without Trump. This will be especially evident when it comes to the cornerstone of “Trumpism”: opposition to immigration.

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