2.7.19 Trump Calls for Unity but Pushes Hard Line on Immigration

Trump Calls for Unity but Pushes Hard Line on Immigration

While President Trump presented himself as a unifier willing to embrace bipartisanship during his annual State of the Union address, he struck a partisan tone on the issue of immigration. “This is a moral issue. No issue better illustrates the divide between America’s working class and America’s political class than illegal immigration. Wealthy politicians and donors push for open borders while living their lives behind walls and gates and guards,” Trump declared in his speech. The president’s rhetoric was attacked by Democrats, including former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who gave the Democrats’ formal response. “We know bipartisanship could craft a 21st-century immigration plan,” she said, “but this administration chooses to cage children and tear families apart.” According to PRRI polling, nearly six in ten (58 percent) Americans oppose building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, while about four in ten (41 percent) favor this policy. Partisans are deeply divided on this issue. Eight in ten (80 percent) Republicans favor building a wall along the border, including nearly half (45 percent) who strongly favor such a policy. By contrast, eight in ten (80 percent) Democrats oppose building a wall along the border, including 61 percent who strongly oppose. 
Why Donald Trump Attacked Abortion in State of the Union Address

Maureen Groppe wrote an article in USA Today examining why President Trump raised the issue of abortion in his State of the Union speech. The president claimed that lawmakers in New York were “cheering with delight” after they passed legislation expanding abortion rights in the state. He also accused Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) of “basically” saying that “he would execute a baby after birth.” Groppe points out that this is the only speech among the three joint addresses Trump has given since being elected where the president mentioned abortion. One possible motivation could be that these comments may serve as a rallying cry during the 2020 presidential campaign among the most ardent supporters of the president’s agenda. “Anti-abortion activists credited Trump with being the first modern presidential candidate to ‘boldly describe the brutal reality’ of late-term abortions. His comments helped cement support for him among Christian conservatives nervous about his commitment to the issue. (Trump called himself’“ very pro-choice’ in 1999),” Groppe notes. According to PRRI research, nearly three-quarters (73%) of Democrats believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared to less than one-quarter (23%) who believe it should be illegal. Conversely, a majority (57%) of Republicans believe it should be illegal in all or most cases, while 40% say it should be legal. 
American Attitudes on Socialism

During his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, Trump promised a nation free from socialism. “America was founded on liberty and independence and not government coercion, domination and control,” Trump said, to applause from Republicans. “We are born free and we will stay free,” he continued. “Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a Socialist country.” PRRI data has shown that Americans aren’t in full agreement about what “socialism” really means. PRRI Digital Media Associate David Tigabu wrote in 2018, “A majority (54 percent) of Americans identify socialism as a system of government that provides citizens with services like health insurance, retirement support, and access to free higher education, according to PRRI’s 2018 American Values Survey. Forty-three percent of Americans say socialism is a system where the government controls key parts of the economy, such as utilities, transportation, and communications industries.” Tigabu adds, “Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say that socialism is about government control of certain industries (54 percent vs. 36 percent).”
LGBT Progress a “Sobering Reality”

A recent report from the Human Rights Campaign examined statewide legislation that affects LGBTQ people and concluded that there are 17 states with positive laws and policies in place. Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today examines the gap between the remaining states and assesses whether the current Congress could pass a federal law Equality Act, which would provide a variety of protections for LGBTQ Americans. Ortiz writes, “Previous attempts at such a law have died in committee, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has committed to making the bill a priority. The California Democrat has public support on her side: A survey published in August by the Public Religion Research Institute showed 71 percent of Americans favor safeguards for the LGBT community.” According to PRRI, 33 percent of Republicans oppose ”laws that would protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing” for the LGBTQ community, compared to 16 percent of Democrats and 19 percent of independents.