Why Trump is resonating on the right

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He may be an object of derision to many followers of the 2016 presidential race, but advocates for tougher border laws are cheering Donald Trump’s controversial statements on immigration.
While they say Trump’s rhetoric could be improved, groups opposed to illegal immigration are hoping Trump’s recent headlines will force other Republican candidates to take firmer stances on border security.
“The first point to make is that Trump is resonating with a lot of people,” Mark Krikorian, executive director for the Center for Immigration Studies, told The Hill.
{mosads}“It’s not just Republicans, but a lot of ordinary Americans,” he said. “It’s precisely because regular politicians aren’t addressing the issues they are concerned about.”
“When you’re looking at the whole country – the Democratic and the Republican electorates both – they’re almost screaming for alternatives to what they’ve been presented.”
Trump sparked outrage by sharply criticizing Hispanic immigrants and Mexico during his formal campaign launch June 16.
“They’re sending people who have a lot of problems,” he said during his announcement speech at New York’s Trump Tower.
“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists,” he said. “And some, I assume, are good people.”
Trump has seen a barrage of business entities terminate relationships with him since the remarks. Macy’s, NBC and Univision have each cut ties with the outspoken billionaire in the wake of his diatribe.
But despite the bad press, Trump’s campaign is surging. He placed in second in two recent national polls of the 2016 Republican White House field, and has seen a particular surge in the early-voting state of New Hampshire.
Conservative radio host Steve Deace argued Trump’s words are ringing true with conservatives who are tired of how they’ve been treated by the establishment Republican Party.
“Trump is simply saying what a lot of average Americans who could care less what people inside the 202 and 212 area code thinks to some extent,” Deace told the Hill.
“The idea of this hurting the GOP brand is laughable,” he said. “What brand?”
“They already lie to their conservative base repeatedly,” Deace said of mainstream Republicans. 
“Most of the GOP’s base is looking for reasons to revolt,” he added. “The brand here isn’t just damaged – it needs an exorcism.”
Krikorian said the attention Trump’s rhetoric is getting shows Americans are still concerned with border security and illegal immigration.
“When people aren’t having their concerns addressed, they’ll listen to the clown,” he said.
But Krikorian sees a path for Trump to change the GOP’s approach to border security even if he doesn’t win the nomination.
“On the very positive side, if he leads the more conventional candidates to address our feckless immigration policies in a way most of them have tried to avoid, then that could be helpful,” he said.
“Trump could impact every Republican candidate to come closer to his position.”
Republicans are not unified behind Trump’s controversial rhetoric, though. Some worry he may hurt the GOP’s credibility as it tries to reclaim the White House in 2016.
With many Latinos up in arms over remarks some see as bigoted and racist towards Hispanic immigrants, Republicans risk alienating a growing voting bloc.
Other Republican White House hopefuls have rebuked Trump’s language on the 2016 campaign trail.
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former New York Gov. George Pataki each criticized Trump earlier this week, as did New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Immigration reform advocate Ira Mehlman said Trump’s remarks inelegantly addressed an issue of real concern for voters.
Border security and illegal immigration are legitimate worries for many Americans, he said.
“Trump did draw attention to the fact that the border is out of control,” said Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
“The problem is that the border itself is a symptom, not the problem,” Mehlman said.
“People understand that if they can get into the United States illegally, they’re probably home-free,” he added.
“As long as you keep incentivizing illegal immigration, you’ll never get the border under control.”
NumbersUSA President Roy Beck, meanwhile, said Trump’s blame is misplaced when he focuses on immigrants instead of policy decisions.
“In our view, Trump has focused the debate on the wrong place — the character of the people who break our immigration laws,” Beck said.
“Our view is that most illegal aliens are decent people who mean no harm to Americans and who view our country’s carelessness about enforcement as something of an invitation to break our immigration laws,” he said.
“In our view, it is counterproductive to focus on the illegal aliens themselves when the true villains are our elected officials, especially our last four presidents.”
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