Re: Popular Opinion and Immigration

by John O'Sullivan

John, I wasn’t making the argument that immigration was an election-winner for the very good reason that there is no such thing as an election-winner. Only in the most exceptional circumstances does an election turn upon a single issue. Generally an election is about a number of issues and is heavily influenced by matters that, strictly speaking, are not issues at all such as a recession caused by a rise in the price of oil. So your test is designed never to yield a successful example. What I was arguing was that there was popular discontent with immigration and that this was a sign that recent levels had been too high for too long. Supporting evidence for that proposition is found in opinion polls and in the fact that even open-borders conservative politicians admit that their constituents are angry about it. You accept similar evidence, I am fairly confident, for the proposition that racial preferences are opposed by most Americans even though no election has ever turned on the issue. The most I would venture about elections is that if a politician takes unpopular positions on enough issues, he will probably lose.

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