Trump Exaggerates The MS-13 Menace And Republicans Say His Tough Talk Is Political Gold

When U.S. President Donald Trump used the word “animals” last week in a way that left it unclear whether he was talking specifically about members of the MS-13 gang or broadly about unauthorized immigrants, he caused an uproar.

The kind of uproar he likes.

He got to claim that Democrats who called his comment dehumanizing were taking the side of a brutal gang. He got to lambaste the media for allegedly twisting his words.

And he got that same media to devote a few more news cycles to the subject of illegal immigration.

Heading into the congressional midterm elections in November, Trump has returned to the immigration-heavy message that helped propel his own victory two years ago. Even with a roaring economy, he seems to be betting that control of Congress depends on a lot more of his graphic talk about gruesome gang murders of teenage girls.

Democrats hold a consistent (though shrinking) lead in polls of voters’ midterm intentions. Elections last year and early this yearsuggest that the Democratic base is far more motivated than the Republican base.

“This is a base election,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “The goal of the midterm is to fire up your base without hacking off independents. The one issue outside of (the threat of) impeachment that fires up Republicans and doesn’t hack off independents is discussion about illegal immigration.”

Read more from Daniel Dale at The Star

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Analysis & Political Strategy