President Trump is putting up a heroic fight against blatant voter fraud and the presidential race remains too close to be called. But one thing is certain: there was no Blue Wave. Right now, it appears Republicans will maintain control over the Senate and gain a significant number of House seats. Even if Joe Biden wins, he will have no mandate and will inherit a position where he cannot pass anything i.e. Amnesty through Congress.
The congressional results thrilled the GOP Establishment, but it has been conspicuously slow to support Trump’s fight. While the results will likely ensure no radical Leftist legislation gets through, they could also portend to the GOP returning to its cucked, pre-Trump form. Trump, whether he wins or loses, may be key to ensuring that National Conservatism in general and immigration patriotism in particular remains on the Republican agenda.
From an immigration perspective, there are a number of pros and cons to this congressional makeup.
If Trump wins, don’t expect this Congress to act on immigration. They still won’t have a majority in the House and will not have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. They won’t be able to pass anything easily, and past form shows they won’t want to fight.
But that is an advantage if Biden wins and tries to push Amnesty. Obama tried to make Amnesty his signature legislative achievement after winning decisively in 2012. Biden, by contrast, would come in with a disputed election, a crippled Democratic congressional caucus, and no clear mandate. He based his whole campaign around not being Trump. That doesn’t give him enough political capital to force through his desired legislation.
Among Republicans, there isn’t much appetite for another Gang of Eight-style Amnesty. They know (or at least they should know) they don’t need it to attract Hispanics: Trump broke records with this demographic while running on a solid immigration patriot platform [Trump’s gains with Hispanic voters should prompt some progressive rethinking, by Matthew Yglesias, Vox, November 5, 2020]. No 2020 GOP “autopsy report” will demand mass Amnesty to reach out to “diverse” voters and Trump has proved that the party’s base is staunchly opposed to most illegal immigration.
However, there will likely be an effort to Amnesty “Dreamers” (illegal aliens allegedly brought to the U.S. as minors). Under Trump, this would probably revive proposals from 2018 that offered this Amnesty for positive immigration reforms and full Wall funding. Under Biden, the deal would be a straight Amnesty that would likely try to legalize the relatives of Dreamers as well. It’s unclear whether a deal would pass. Democrats may continue to insist on working with Trump if he proposes it, and Republicans may be pressured by their base to oppose it if a President Biden offers it.
But a “Dreamer” Amnesty is the only immigration bill with a chance of passing. A second-term Trump could and should of course force votes on defunding sanctuary cities, providing more wall funding, cutting chain migration, etc. But without a Republican House, these won’t pass. Both Trump and Biden will have to resort to executive power to enact their immigration agendas.
This is not an ideal situation, but it could have been far worse (See “Blue Wave,” above). A Democratic-controlled Congress would have pushed through Amnesty and defanged immigration enforcement. All they would need to do is eliminate the filibuster to achieve their dreams.
But there are many concerns with this new arrangement, especially if Biden wins.
The GOP Establishment is a little too eager to tout its diversity in the wake of the election.
“The Republican coalition is bigger, more diverse, and more energetic than ever before—thanks to President. @realDonaldTrump. His efforts to reach every demographic has positively expanded the future of the GOP,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted in the election aftermath.
Remember. McCarthy’s GOP House “Commitment To America” campaign pitch didn’t mention immigration at all.
Hispanics who voted for Trump, of course, voted for national populism--not McCarthy’s Business First priorities. But that lesson may be lost on Republicans.
There are also remarkably few stalwart immigration patriots among Congressional Republicans. Steve King, Jeff Sessions and Kris Kobach were backstabbed in their respective primaries. Newcomer Lauren Witzke lost her brave Senate challenge to an entrenched Democrat incumbent in Delaware. There’s Tom Cotton in the Senate and Paul Gosar and Matt Gaetz, in the House. And there are two new Republicans--Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Bob Good of Virginia—who won their primaries on appeals to immigration patriotism. But you would think there would be dozens of nationalists in Congress by now.
Instead, most new Republicans are more like Tommy Tuberville and Roger Marshall, the Senators-elect who beat, respectively, Sessions and Kobach in their primaries: Establishmentarians who pretend to support Trump and hardline immigration policies, but who will follow whatever their donors and party leaders tell them to do.
If Trump wins, these types will continue to pay lip service to nationalism and follow the president’s line. If he doesn’t win, they will turn into easy pawns for the Cheap Labor Lobby.
And that cuts to the heart of the matter.
Without Trump in the White House, the GOP is vulnerable to returning to its old, Business-First self. GOP leaders are happy that Trump abolished regulations, cut taxes, appointed “conservative” judges etc. etc. But that’s it. They want to forget the America-First message he actually won the presidency on. They would continue to elevate terrible people like Tim Scott, Liz Cheney, and Ben Sasse as the future of the party. They would ignore immigration and retreat on law and order. They would fully embrace a multiracial America—so long as it has low taxes and stands with Israel.
This would essentially be a return of the 2014 GOP, minus the Tea Party and Jeff Sessions.
My view: The one ray of hope is that Trump would still be around. The man has captured the public eye for 40 years--he’s not going into a quiet retirement if he loses. He has the potential to create a movement that promotes genuine Trumpists and punishes the traitors who abandoned him at his time of need. He will still retain the loyalty of the GOP base and his endorsements will be desired by most Republican candidates. He can still determine the future of the party and force the party to represent the Historic American Nation.
Party leaders may wish to put Trumpism in the past. But, win or lose, nationalism is here to stay. The Establishment may just have to learn this lesson again.