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Immigration and the Primaries


Over the weekend, Jonathan Martin had a New York Times story about how Republican establishment types are reacting to their wins in various primaries. “If Republicans now in office conclude that Tea Party pressure is no longer a political threat, they may be more willing to face down the right on issues like an overhaul of immigration laws,” he writes. He may be right about how Republicans would react. But it does not seem like a wise reaction. Martin says the Mississippi Senate primary tomorrow will be decisive. But the establishment candidate, Senator Thad Cochran, voted against the Senate immigration bill. So did Senator Ron Johnson, whom Martin cites at the end as a Republican who “does not seem threatened” by some tea-party groups. Maybe one of the reasons he does not seem threatened is that, on immigration, he agrees and votes with most tea partiers. If Cochran wins renomination in part by opposing the Senate immigration bill, it would be perverse to conclude that it’s therefore politically costless to support it.


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