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Friday Edition: Biden’s Border Win?

Plus: The truth about “MAGA” foreign policy.

ON THE DEBATE: This 30-second video from the debate last night says more than I ever could. The biggest question right now is if Biden will remain the nominee — or if Dems rustle up a last-minute replacement.

1. Seems Like We Could’ve Done This Months Ago

President Biden is taking a victory lap over his asylum restrictions, just a few months after saying there was nothing more he could do to stem the flow of migrants pouring across the U.S.-Mexico border. (Politico)

Biden admin officials said Wednesday illegal border crossings have fallen 40% since the president signed an executive order limiting asylum seekers earlier this month.

  • Daily crossings have dropped to 2,400, the lowest since January 2021, before Biden took office.

Hemming and hawing: In April, Axios reported Biden’s immigration executive order had been in the works for months but had been delayed by concerns over “legal challenges, political backlash and enforcement shortages.”

  • It would take another month and a half after Axios’ reporting for Biden to actually pull the trigger.

Biden talking about the border crisis in January: “I've done all I can do. Just give me the power. Give me the border patrol. Give me the people. The judges. Give me the people who can stop this and make it work right.”

The blame game: The president has accused Republicans of scuttling a bipartisan border enforcement bill, which GOP critics characterized as heavily flawed.

Bubba’s Two Cents

The president shouldn’t be celebrating. He’s basically admitting he could have done something about the border for months (while overwhelmed mayors from his own party begged him for help), but chose to sit on his hands. Is it possible Congressional Republicans’ objections to the bipartisan border deal were motivated by politics? Sure. But they didn’t create the border crisis, and dragging his feet on immigration just hurt Biden — and more importantly, it hurt the country.

2. Trump Supporters Aren’t Anti-War Activists

New survey data contradicts the narrative that Donald Trump supporters are more non-interventionist than other Republicans. (WaPo)

Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen:

Conventional wisdom holds that the GOP is split into two factions: A Reaganite wing that still holds on to old ideas of U.S. leadership on the world stage and a populist MAGA wing that is deeply skeptical of U.S. global leadership and wants to retreat into a fortress America.

That conventional wisdom is dead wrong. In fact, the opposite appears to be true: Populist MAGA Republicans are actually more supportive of strong U.S. leadership and engagement in international affairs than establishment Republicans.

A new Ronald Reagan Institute poll on foreign policy:

  • 53% of MAGA Republicans have a favorable view of NATO, slightly higher than 50% of non-MAGA Republicans.

  • 69% of MAGA Republicans support military action if a NATO ally is attacked, compared to 63% of non-MAGA Republicans.

  • 70% of MAGA Republicans think it's important for Ukraine to win the war with Russia, compared to 64% of non-MAGA Republicans.

  • 72% of MAGA Republicans support Israel's right to continue military action in Gaza, compared to 65% of non-MAGA Republicans.

  • 75% of MAGA Republicans support the U.S. sending weapons to Israel, compared to 57% of non-MAGA Republicans.

Related: 104 GOP House members voted in favor of sending aid to Ukraine in April, but none of them have lost their primaries, despite threats and challenges from populist Republicans.

Bubba’s Two Cents

This isn’t an argument for becoming pro-intervention. There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of recent U.S. foreign policy history. But many of the most popular voices on the right and on social media make it sound like the average Trump supporter has become some sort of Code Pink activist. That’s not reality.

3. Short-term AirBNB and NYC

Since New York City started enforcing its ban on short-term rentals in a bid to fight the housing affordability crisis, homes haven’t gotten any cheaper and hotels have gotten more expensive. (Business Insider)

Chart: Business Insider

An 80% decline: Airbnb listings for stays under 30 days fell from 22,246 in August 2023 to 8,039 in September, and then to 2,646 in October.

  • They have since risen to nearly 4,000 in May 2024.

A study published in May found NYC rent prices grew seven times faster than wages last year.

The hotel industry’s thriving: Hotel occupancy rates in NYC reached 82% in 2023, compared to a national average of 63%.

  • The average hotel room price in NYC hit a record $301 per night, up 8.5% from 2022.

  • Approximately 20% of NYC hotels are being used to shelter migrants, which combined with less short-term rental competition from AirBnb has helped drive up prices.

What an effective policy to reduce home prices looks like: Journalists like the Financial Times’ John Burn-Murdoch have argued blue states and cities are shooting themselves in the foot by letting red tape bog down construction of housing.

Chart: Financial Times

4. Language Is Downstream of Media

In a new analysis, National Review contributor A.G. Hamilton looked at how often the mainstream media uses the loaded terms, “far left” and “far right.” (X)

Hamilton on X/Twitter:

I've been thinking about how consistently language is being manipulated and words redefined/abused lately to push agendas.

As an experiment: I checked the accounts of various news orgs to see their usage of "far-right" and "far-left" since Jan 2023.

The results are telling.

The results:

X/@AGHamilton29

Related: In December, The Economist released a study showing journalists tend to favor terms (such as “undocumented immigrant” versus “illegal alien”) used by Democrats.

  • Most media sources, including 17 of the 20 most-read news websites and all major TV news sources except Fox News, use more Democratic-linked terms.

  • Since Donald Trump’s presidency, the Democratic slant in media has increased.

  • In 2017, CNN used more Republican terms, but by 2022, CNN and major broadcast channels showed a stronger Democratic leaning.

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