It's widely assumed that President Obama will soon announce some sort of executive action on immigration. Democrats hope this will help increase turnout by the party's base in November.
Will it? I've had my doubts, and they're reinforced by these poll results, which were published by Gallup on Friday:
Although both Republicans and Democrats name dysfunctional government, the economy, and unemployment as top problems facing the country today, they attach different importance to other issues....
The differences between partisan groups are most evident in terms of immigration, with an 11-percentage-point spread between Republicans (22%) and Democrats (11%) mentioning the issue....
Now, these Gallup numbers come from interviews conducted this month and last month, when immigration was very much in the news. "Prior to July," we're told, "immigration ranked much lower on the most important problem list."
But when immigration becomes a major issue, which party's voters are more galvanized? The border refugee crisis riled up Republicans, not Democrats. Why should we believe that the response to executive action on immigration will be different?
I suppose the counterargument is that Republicans are already quite motivated to vote, while Democrats aren't motivated at all right now. This could narrow the enthusiasm gap.
But when immigration reform happens, or is on the verge of happening, it infuriates the right -- at least when the president isn't named Ronald Reagan. It gets to the core of Republican voters' sense of being a besieged "us" under attack from an invading "them." (Well, a lot of issues make GOP voters feel that way -- though this will seem to them like the coming of an invading anti-American horde right now.)
I hope reform inspires Democratic voters. But it's going to enrage Republicans. I think the best we can hope for in terms of effect on November is a wash.