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Monday Edition: Pro-Immigration Trump

Plus: Unions. Negative partisanship. Campaign cash.

1. Pro-Immigration Trump?

Does Donald Trump’s recent proposal to issue a green card to every noncitizen college graduate signal a big shift in his immigration stance? Not exactly. (NBC News)

Trump on the latest episode of “The All-In Podcast”:

What I want to do and what I will do is you graduate from a college, I think you should get automatically as part of your diploma, a green card to be able to stay in this country. And that includes junior colleges, too.

Earlier this month, Trump reportedly told a group of CEOs at a private business meeting that he supports high-skilled immigration.

Republicans in Congress criticized Trump’s remarks, while some pundits found the comments out of step with his anti-immigrant reputation.

Trump’s made similar statements in the past, including in the run-up to the 2016 election.

  • Pandemic aside, the former president basically doled out green cards at a similar rate as his predecessor.

  • From January 2017 to February 2020, the average number of green cards issued per month under Trump decreased by only 0.5% compared to Barack Obama.

Counter-narrative: While the media often depicts Trump voters as completely opposed to immigration, the reality’s a bit more complicated.

Roughly half of all H1-B visas (visas that allow employers to hire noncitizens with college degrees for temporary jobs) go to workers in the professional, scientific and technical services fields.

  • In FY 2024, only 25% of 780,000 H-1B visa registrations were approved.

  • Meanwhile, the cap for H-2B visas (for seasonal, nonagricultural workers) was reached in less than two weeks.

Bubba’s Two Cents

Our debates around immigration usually end up falling into all-or-nothing extremes. You’re either a xenophobic nativist or you’re for completely open borders. Trump, an unlikely messenger for this message, reminds us there’s a middle ground. (But also, don’t be surprised if he does a complete 180 on this stance).

2. The Tribes Have No Clothes

A new Fox News survey sums up a pretty prominent feature of modern American politics. (Fox News)

Screenshot/Fox News

The poll asked Republicans and Democrats what they thought of policies both with and without associating them with Donald Trump or Joe Biden.

Immigration: By a +45 net margin, Republicans approve of a policy to restrict asylum seekers.

  • But that drops to -17 net approval once Biden’s name is associated with the policy.

Tips: With Trump’s name attached, Democrats’ have a negative (-10) net approval of a proposal to eliminate taxes on tips.

  • That jumps to a +40 net approval once the former president’s name is omitted.

The trend: Politics has been getting more tribal for decades now.

Bubba’s Two Cents

Academics call it negative partisanship: defining your politics more by what you’re against than what you’re for. It often means opposing ideas you actually support just because they come from someone wearing a different jersey color. This is a great environment for people who like controversy and drama. These are not the best conditions for building and getting things done.

3. The Union Realignment

A recent move by one of the country’s largest labor unions is the latest sign of the much-discussed working class political realignment toward the GOP. (NYT)

Teamsters union president Sean O’Brien is seeking speaking slots at both the Republican and Democratic national conventions, The New York Times reported last week.

  • Both Donald Trump and President Biden have heavily courted the organized labor vote, which has historically gone to Dems.

  • Earlier this year, Trump slammed the president of the United Auto Workers after the group endorsed Biden.

The trend: Biden, who’s called himself “the most pro-union president in history,” has seen his support among unions slipping.

  • Biden’s approval among union households fell from 56% in 2020 to 50% in early 2024, per an NBC News poll.

  • Earlier this year, the Teamsters union made its first donation to Republicans since 2004.

The big picture: But the decline in union support for Democrats predates Biden.

  • In the late 1960s, 46% of union households identified as Democrats.

  • By 2002, Democratic identification among white union members dropped below 40%.

Bubba’s Two Cents

There’s no doubt Trump’s victory in 2016 was a pivotal moment for American politics. But as the above chart shows, the much-ballyhooed political realignment everyone’s always talking about didn’t just come out of nowhere or originate with Trump. There were a lot of conditions (economic, political, cultural) that set the stage for “MAGA” and right-wing populism.

4. The Fallout From Trump’s Conviction

The dust has settled somewhat since Donald Trump’s hush money trial conviction, and what’s left is a whole lot of campaign cash. (Politico)

FEC filings show Trump’s campaign cleaned up in the two days after the former president was found guilty.

Politico reporter Jessica Piper:

Just looking at large-dollar donations, the campaign reported receiving at least six times as many daily donations those two days compared to a typical day. And the fundraising spike was likely even greater, considering that doesn’t include unitemized donations of less than $200 or any donations that the joint fundraising contributions hadn’t yet transferred.

The boost helped erase the Biden campaign’s fundraising edge over Trump.

  • Trump, the RNC and an allied super PAC raised over $170 million in May, with tens of millions of that money coming after the conviction.

  • At the end of May, Trump and the RNC had $171 million cash on hand combined, surpassing Biden and the DNC's $157 million.

It’s a far cry from Team Biden’s situation earlier this year:

What about Trump’s 2024 chances? The latest polling is mixed as to how much Trump’s conviction has hurt him with voters.

  • A new POLITICO Magazine/Ipsos poll found a plurality (38%) of voters say the conviction doesn't affect their support for Trump.

  • On the other hand, Trump’s slight lead over President Biden in the FiveThirtyEight polling average has evaporated in the weeks since his conviction.

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