Left-leaning groups are advising Democratic candidates in the November midterm elections to steer clear from discussing immigration in states and districts that President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE won in 2016.
A strategy memo co-authored by the Center for American Progress and Third Way — two Washington-based think tanks — recommended that certain Democrats speak about the topic as little as possible and instead focus on topics that will better resonate with their voters.
Navin Nayak, executive director of the Center for American Progress Action, said that even though the memo was sent to a broad set of districts, it excluded ones with large Latino populations or particularly diverse districts because it’s not intended to provide blanket advice.
“One, the research was done specifically in a handful of battleground states and districts, so it wasn’t applicable universally across the country,” he told The Hill in an interview Monday. “And second, it was really about how to respond to the anti-immigration attacks around sanctuary cities that we’ve been seeing from Republicans over the last year.”
“In terms of responding to attacks, obviously Republicans will want nothing more than to have a prolonged debate on sanctuary cities, and I think the advice was to respond to the attacks and make sure we’re still holding them accountable on a set of other issues we know they’re trying to avoid like healthcare and taxes,” Nayak added.
The New York Times first reported on the strategy memo Sunday.
“It is very difficult to win on immigration with vulnerable voters in the states Trump carried in 2016,” said the memo obtained by the Times.
While voters in parts of California and Florida tend to be more amenable to an easier path to citizenship and other protections for immigrants, candidates in states like Iowa and Virginia are highlighting their support for strengthening border security.
Abigail Spanberger (D), who is running against immigration-hardliner Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), recently released an ad distancing herself with the more progressive wing of the party’s call to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“I’ve spent my career protecting America and enforcing the law. I don’t support safe havens for criminals or gangs. Anyone who commits a violent crime should be prosecuted,” she says in the 30-second spot. “Don’t let anyone fool you. I oppose abolishing ICE.”
Republicans have largely said they see immigration as a winning issue for the party. Earlier this year, House GOP leadership brought a resolution in support of ICE to the floor in an attempt to force Democrats to go on the record on whether they support the agency.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyHouse Republicans hopeful about bipartisan path forward on police reform legislation Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names McConnell: States should make decision on Confederate statues MORE (R-Calif.) also brought immigration to the forefront after introducing a bill that would fully fund President Trump’s push to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, crack down on sanctuary cities and increase penalties on criminals that attempt to reenter the United States.
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