Yesterday I posted the first of my three-part series of conversations with Marybeth Glenn, who writes politics at The Collision Blog, about the quandary of Cruz vs. Trump. Here is part II, an in depth look at Cruz’s immigration position.

Why Cruz really is that bad

Mitchell Blatt
Let’s get back to where we left off yesterday and consider the possibility that some of Cruz’s extreme positions are just for show.

Cruz has said he would eliminate the IRS. We know that can’t or won’t happen and that it is a bumper sticker phrase he created just for the election. He answered affirmatively when asked if he would deport 12 million illegal immigrants, but on his immigration issues page, he doesn’t mention deporting everyone, but rather “increase deportations.”

Where he appears to depart from Rubio is on pledging to end Obama’s executive actions, but even Rubio seemed to leave wiggle room there when he said to Jorge Ramos, “I don’t think we can immediately revoke that… I’m not calling for it to be revoked tomorrow, or this week, or right away.”

But you said that Cruz’s immigration plan would be called by Democrats “a harsher immigration stance than Donald Trump.” 1.) What aspect are you referring to that either you think is harsher or that the Democrats would be able to portray as harsher?

Marybeth Glenn

“…but I think Waldman is basically right—Cruz’s biggest differences with many of his rivals are on language and tactics. Whereas, with Trump, we have no idea what he would do on most things, since he has few consistent positions, but the ones that he does have are either anti-conservative, or, in the case of immigration, extremely radical.”

Cruz’s immigration position is even more radical. I think that’s the heartbeat of Hillary’s campaign if Cruz is on the ticket.

In this issue Waldman is very wrong: it’s not about the biggest difference or the biggest similarities, it’s about one gigantic difference. You can wear all the armor in the world, but if there’s an opening over the heart and the enemy is well aware of it, it’s the only place they need to focus.

The fact that immigration is low on the list of issues with Americans makes it even better, because the candidate who intends to hurt illegals is not doing it because it’s important, but merely because they can. Every angle of this argument can be manipulated into a weapon, and I have no doubt that Democrat strategists have already considered every point of attack. If they’re half as talented as I believe them to be, the current lead Hillary has on Cruz will grow substantially. To boot, he’s just not a likable character in the first place. Hillary isn’t likable either, but when it comes down to staunch Democrats vs. staunch Republicans, and those who will vote for party regardless, the Democrats have us beat.

“But you said that Cruz’s immigration plan would be called by Democrats “a harsher immigration stance than Donald Trump.” 1.) What aspect are you referring to that either you think is harsher or that the Democrats would be able to portray as harsher?”

He’s been enthusiastic about being stronger on immigration than Donald Trump. In particular, he has attacked Trump for saying that those who are deported should be able to apply for legal immigration upon deportation. Watch this video where he tells a voter he opposes allowing deported immigrants to come back legally.

There are countless sound clips like that, even DACA recipients who went to rallies and calmly questioned him. Honestly, Trump has walked back some of his immigration proposals. That doesn’t matter right now, but it will matter when that’s the baseline Democrats use to compare Trump to Cruz. When I debate someone on abortion I never use the Bible or a moral base, I compare their stance with their counterparts. I create a war between them, not between us, and then make them defend it in a state of loneliness – that’s when my stance enters. Same principles apply (loosely) here, they’ll create a war between Trump and Cruz in which Trump is defeated by harsher ideology. Cruz will be singled out as cruel, and those who support him will be labeled radicals.

How can we diffuse purely emotional appeals in political debate?

Thanks for taking the time to respond in such detail. It does give voters some ideas to think about. It appears to me that immigration—and illegal immigration specifically—is your biggest sticking point preventing you from supporting Cruz. You did mention often how the Democrats would exploit the issue to defeat him. Is it just because of the fact that Democrats could easily exploit it, or also, from your own viewpoint, that the policy itself would be inhumane and wrong?

When I heard Rubio speak in very personal tones about his family and the other families of immigrants he grew up with—both legal and illegal—I felt he did a good job of conveying that this is about real people and that so many of them have, through their actions, demonstrated that they are a part of the United States, too. Yet even with the Gang of Eight immigration bill, there would be people deported. Not everyone can qualify for citizenship. That could, if parents are deported because they in no way could qualify, also include their young children, through no fault of their own.

I can imagine the ad that a Democrat would run with children crying and everything, but then I can imagine that about a lot of topics. On gun rights, for example, parents of school shooting victims can testify about it. Democrats will say we shouldn’t repeal Obamacare because that will leave XX million people without healthcare. I guess, then, apart from the political popularity of such a program, where does this kind of exploitation end, and should it be the basis for making policy?

I do disagree with Ted’s views on immigration, but I also disagree with the left side of the aisle. I think there are sensible solutions, and both radical positions are wrong. One side completely disregards that laws are broken, and the other takes an inhumane approach. Unfortunately, if we’re to choose between unfair and inhumane, I would be forced to side with the former, and I think the 72% in this country who are against large scale deportation would join me.

I believe our immigration laws should be reformed, and that we need a long pathway for those currently in the country. Call it a leniency, but we’ve done our share of not only allowing them to enter our country, but encouraging it; much of the fault is on us. Considering 7% of children in K-12 have an illegal parent, we’re not talking about the temporary worker issue back in the days of Eisenhower, we’re talking about assimilated families. We need to stop the bleeding on the border, and we also need to deport those who have entered and continue to live a life of crime within our country; however, for the vast number of assimilated families the only decent choice is to come up with a viable solution that holds them responsible, while also offering them the chance to be, or continue being, productive members of society.

Additionally, I think the issue has been blown out of proportion. A recent Pew Research Center report shows that more Mexicans are leaving America than entering it, and the numbers used by prominent Republicans to suggest that illegal immigrants are the most dangerous among us are easily debunked, and their arguments are flimsy. They take a handful of cases to use as an example, but if I did that with the number of Caucasian males who sexually assault women every day, I could make an even stronger case against them.

Net illegal immigration from Mexico is on the decline. Net illegal immigration from all countries has declined by a smaller factor. (Pew: )

Net illegal immigration from Mexico is on the decline. Net illegal immigration from all countries has declined by a smaller factor. (Pew: )

As for various issues that could be exploited, I believe that’s where my point regarding a weakness in the argument comes in. When we speak of gun control, there’s always a counter argument with a visual. I was recently having a heated discussion about this particular matter with someone, and it began with him using school shootings as an example, and it ended with him having to eventually admit that he’d rather see me in a body bag than have the means to defend myself from a rapist, and all because someone violated the very laws he is in support of. The 2nd amendment was never mentioned, but in the end he was trying to convince me that he wasn’t a bad person.

With the gun control argument the countering data is unprecedented. You can always bring up the fact that the UK has more rape and murder, but because of how they limit their national statistics to only include convicted cases they aren’t comparable to the U.S., or the fact that our criminal definitions vary, etc., the list goes on. You can bring up sexual assault cases, female empowerment, and quickly turn the argument around on them because we have endless data to support our position. With enough patience and persistence, you can drive them into a corner and make yourself their intended victim. The same can be done with the ACA debate. The problem with the immigration debate is that we don’t have the facts on our side. Middle ground solutions? Sure, the argument can be made. Right wing fear mongering, botched data, and unnecessary and avoidable disasters waiting to happen will be called to the carpet, as they should be.

If we really look at the evidence, immigration is not just another solid issue that the left will exploit, but instead the Republican’s version of the Democrat’s gun control argument; weak and porous.

Part III coming tomorrow: How could the GOP really win a contested convention against Cruz’s strong delegate operations?

Photo by Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia.

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