Chuck Todd the man

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<$NoAd$>Chuck Todd, the man behind Hotline, has an excellent column today on the National Journal website (subscription only) about the big issue looming on the radar screen for 2008: immigration. He writes:

There’s a disconnect between the politically correct legislators and media in Washington and the general public on the issue. Call it xenophobia if you want, but these [anti-immigration] initiatives are popular with the public, particularly as the economy stagnates and some lower-income workers are looking for someone to blame.

Add in the possibility of a terrorist attack, and the shut-the-doors crowd will be clamoring for the Great Wall of Brownsville.

Chuck is right that immigration will be a big issue for both parties, but on the presidential level, I still believe that it stands to damage the GOP more. While many rank-and-file Democrats may have serious reservations about immigration, there is no Democratic anti-immigration constituency -– and in the presidential nominating process, it’s the groups and activists who count. The GOP not only has an anti-immigration constituency, they also already have anti-immigration candidates. One Tom Tancredo in the race, and the whole field can easily be pulled to the right. While the opposite dynamic could happen on the left, the ambivalence toward unchecked immigration among Hispanics themselves should put a break on that.

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