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Biden's Overhyped Immigration "Crackdown"

Plus: A baby-making vibe shift.

1. Has Biden’s Immigration “Crackdown” Been Overhyped?

Two recent moves from President Biden cut against the idea that he’s taken a hardline turn on securing the border. (CNN)

CNN senior reporter Edward-Isaac Dovere: “Looking to shore up Latino votes in Nevada and Arizona for his reelection campaign, President Joe Biden is on the verge of soon following up last week’s executive action aimed at curbing border crossings with another move focused on providing legal status for long-term undocumented immigrants who are married to American citizens.”

Biden’s latest plan could provide legal status for 750,000 to 800,000 undocumented immigrants married to American citizens.

  • The administration is reviewing "parole in place," which would shield select undocumented immigrants from deportation and allow them to work legally.

Also: Biden’s executive order last week was supposed to block most asylum seekers from entering the country, but there appears to be a gaping loophole.

Washington Examiner reporter Anna Giaritelli: “U.S. Border Patrol agents in Southern California have been instructed to admit migrants from far-off countries rather than place them in removal proceedings, a move that goes against the White House’s Tuesday ban on asylum-seekers.”

2. Democrats Are Pretty Radical, Too

While the “MAGA”-fication of the GOP has been extensively covered in the mainstream media, we shouldn’t ignore that Democrats have also become more ideologically extreme. (Semafor)

A new Gallup poll: From 2004 to 2024, the percentage of Democrats identifying as liberal on social issues increased by 30 points.

  • On economic issues, the percentage of Democrats identifying as liberal nearly doubled over the same period.

Gallup analyst Justin McCarthy: “Compared with 2004 and 2014, Republicans have become more conservative and Democrats have become more liberal in their views on both social and economic issues, but not at the same rate [emphasis added]. The growth in liberal views among Democrats has outpaced that in conservative views among Republicans, which were already the dominant position among the latter group.”

Related: A Morning Consult poll in September found the Democratic Party is seen as more ideologically extreme than the GOP by a 9-point margin.

  • Progressives, the most liberal faction of Democrats, have an outsized influence on the party despite making up only 6% of the public and 12% of Dem/lean Dem voters.

Bubba’s Two Cents

Republican extremism makes headlines while Democrats’ radicalism flies under the media’s radar, for the most part. The mainstream press has decided the current political moment is a good guys vs bad guys scenario. In reality, both parties are a little bit weird and crazy.

3. The Baby-Making Vibe Shift

Americans’ views on the importance of starting families have shifted in a big way. (Pew Research Center)

Chart: Pew Research Center

A new Pew Research Center poll: Overall, only 39% of U.S. voters think society is better off if people make marriage and having children a priority.

  • A majority (59%) say society is just as well off if people have priorities other than family and children.

  • There’s a major political divide with 59% of Trump supporters vs. just 19% of Biden supporters saying prioritizing marriage and children is better for society.

A Wall Street Journal-NORC poll last year found the percentage of Americans who say having children is “very important” to them has declined steeply.

Only 20% of American parents say it’s important to them that their children get married and have a family, per a 2023 Pew study.

  • Nearly 50% of parents say it’s not important or not at all important for their children to marry or have kids.

  • When it comes to what they want for their children, roughly 90% of parents prioritize financial independence and a fulfilling career over marriage and family.

The U.S. fertility rate has declined dramatically over the past decades.

Bubba’s Two Cents

This is important on at least two levels:

1) It’s an indication of how American cultural values have changed.

2) There are a variety of economic and societal questions that come along with a declining birth rate (less workers to fill job openings, for instance).

4. Vaping Ban Backfires

Bans on flavored e-cigarettes, vapes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) have fallen victim to the law of unintended consequences, according to a new research paper. (National Bureau of Economic Research)

E-cigarettes became the most used tobacco products among U.S. youths in 2014.

  • In 2011, 1.5% of high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the past month.

  • That figure rose to 20.8% in 2020.

  • By 2023, nine states, the District of Columbia, and over 370 localities had policies restricting flavored e-cigarettes.

A study published in June by the National Bureau of Economic Research: Bans on flavored e-cigarettes in the U.S. led to a 1.2% to 2.5% drop in regular use among youths.

  • Reductions in vaping were more significant among young black and Latino Americans.

While that may sound positive, there’s a downside: ENDS flavor restrictions prompted young people to switch from vaping to plain old cigarettes.

  • Among 18-20 year-olds, researchers saw an estimated 2.4 to 2.6 percentage-point increase in non-electronic nicotine smoking.

The study’s authors: “Given the plausibly higher health risks of combustible cigarettes relative to e-cigarettes, such substitution implies that the net effect of ENDS flavor restrictions on public health may be limited or potentially even negative.”

Related: In April, the Biden administration indefinitely delayed a controversial ban on menthol cigarettes, which are disproportionately used by black smokers.

Bubba’s Two Cents

Good intentions don’t necessarily make good policy.

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