James Carville’s famous advice to candidates deserves a rest.
“It’s the economy, stupid” should step aside because this year, “It’s the border, stupid.”
The estimated 6 million people who have crossed from Mexico illegally during Joe Biden’s tenure are overwhelming American cities and are the largest single threat to his re-election.
The massive influx is sparking the border showdown between the White House and Texas, with Gov. Greg Abbott using the National Guard to do what Biden refuses to do.
Namely, prevent illegal immigrants from entering the United States.
Biden’s policies “have caused an unprecedented invasion that we must defend against,” the Republican governor said last week.
His state installed more than 100 miles of razor wire to keep illegal crossers from entering Texas.
The Supreme Court said the feds could remove the wire, but Abbott continues to add more and so far the White House is avoiding a physical confrontation.
Reflecting the importance of the issue, GOP governors from 25 states are backing Abbott and many are offering to send their National Guard units to help Texas.
The election-year crisis marks the inevitable boiling point of a problem that has simmered for three years.
Democrat-run cities such as New York, Boston and Chicago are spending billions of dollars to care for the homeless hordes, with the federal government offering little or no financial help for a problem it caused and still refusing to turn off the spigot.
The result has been a political disaster for Biden, even among many members of his own party, and a key issue fueling Donald Trump’s rise.
Polls show that Biden’s handling of the border has the lowest voter support among all major issues.
A recent CBS News survey found that while Biden has an overall approval rating of just 41%, the number craters to 30% on his handling of the border and immigration, with 70% disapproval.
The deficit of 40 points is larger than his 28-point gap between approval and disapproval on the economy and the 34% gap on his handling of inflation, issues that were previously his weakest spots, according to an analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies.
The really remarkable thing is that Biden did this to himself — voluntarily. And in such a way that has benefitted both Trump’s legacy and the ex-president’s comeback campaign.
Trump, as the world knows, talked endlessly in 2016 about building a wall and getting Mexico to pay for it.
After a slow start and a slew of missteps — including failing to get the necessary funds for the wall from a GOP Congress — he got on track and left office with a border that was far more secure than when he started.
Creating a crisis
By the end of Trump’s term, the flow of illegal immigrants was the lowest in more than four decades, according to some estimates.
But Biden, like many Democrats, had an irrational desire to undo everything Trump did, both good and bad.
He saved the worst for his border policies, which have been so bad they make his economic policies look reasonable by comparison.
One example: Biden actually sold off leftover construction material last year that was slated for the wall, a demonstrative sign he never intended to use it.
It was part of his anti-Trump agenda that started during the 2020 campaign, when Biden pledged a more humane approach.
By election day, the flow of migrants already had increased sharply.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, whose own career took a hit when he briefly became a border dove during Barack Obama’s presidency, recounts a litany of other Biden errors.
He “placed a 100-day moratorium on deportations, halted construction of the border wall, dismantled Remain in Mexico, and ended the Asylum Cooperative Agreements,” Rubio wrote in the Miami Herald.
He also cited Biden’s idea to stop using Title 42, a health provision that permitted fast expulsions.
Adding to his image of being out of ideas, Biden has rarely defended his policies publicly and has refused even to meet with Dem mayors and governors who are paying the price financially and politically for his decisions.
He has also seemed utterly indifferent to the cartels profiting from thousands of fentanyl deaths and widespread sex trafficking.
It was only recently, after House Republicans refused to approve more Ukraine aid until the border was addressed, that Biden began paying attention.
Even then, he seemed to be aiming not for a solution but merely for legislation that would rope in Republicans to share the blame.
It’s a reminder that the most frightening words in Washington are “bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform.”
In plain English, it often means Republicans surrendering to Democrats hungry for new voters and big business interests hungry for cheap labor.
When the numbers are as large as they are now, working class Americans are certain to be left out, just as they were when both parties embraced globalization.
Indeed, the sheer size of the illegal immigrant migration is a kind of globalization in reverse, with our country importing vast quantities of working-age men and women from around the world.
Too little, too late
Despite Biden’s effort to woo Republicans with vague promises that he was “ready to act” and make “significant changes,” pushback from Trump and others finally stiffened the spine of Speaker Mike Johnson.
He declared that a secretive Senate bill being crafted would be dead on arrival unless it actually solved the border problem.
Only then did Biden get religion, at least rhetorically.
In a Friday statement, the president said he wants “a new emergency authority to shut down the border when it becomes overwhelmed. And if given that authority, I would use it the day I sign the bill into law.”
Leaving aside that there’s no reason to trust Biden on the issue, the sudden promise to out-Trump Trump, who never actually closed the border, reflects how desperate the White House is politically.
As it did on climate change and other issues, Biden’s team let the far left set the agenda for three years, but is scrambling now that the bills are coming due by way of unhappy voters.
Predictably, the coddled lefties are shocked and furious.
They see Biden’s new get-tough promise as a betrayal because they don’t see a problem with open borders.
Politico quoted an unnamed former White House aide complaining that “Biden is finally admitting that he’s given up on his campaign promise to enact more humane immigration policies than Trump.”
The same person also accused Biden of failing to address “the root causes of migration.”
Ah, yes, the old “root causes” ploy.
Wasn’t Kamala Harris supposed to solve that problem?
In truth, the root causes are obvious.
Life is hard and mean for many, many millions of people in hundreds of countries.
Seeing America’s unlocked door and generous welcome wagon, they decided they wanted to live here.
They did what was they thought was best for them.
Now, finally, it’s time that America do what’s best for Americans.