“Amnesty” In Jeopardy?

Even though Press Secretary Josh Earnest swears the plan is still on, Yglesias expects the GOP wave to scuttle Obama’s promise to take executive action on immigration reform by the end of the year:

To see why, just think about the speech that the president would have given had he announced this initiative back in June. He would have said that immigration reform was a pressing problem. He would have praised the Senate for passing a bipartisan reform bill with an overwhelming majority behind it. He would have noted that the House of Representatives had refused to bring any kind of immigration legislation to the floor. He would have argued that the public was behind him, and made the humanitarian case for action, and flagged the business community’s desire for reform. He would have bemoaned Republican obstructionism. And he would have plowed ahead with a controversial expansion of executive authority.

His argument, in other words, would have been that House Republicans were obstructing something the public, the business community, and even a bipartisan majority of the Senate wanted. But can you really cry obstruction right after losing an election? Republicans are now able to claim not just that Obama was stretching his authority in a novel way, but doing so specifically to overturn an adverse result in the midterms.

With nothing left to lose, though, Allahpundit fears he’ll go all-in:

Obama has nothing to fear from voters anymore. Even in a worst-case scenario, where he issues the order and there’s a public backlash, Hillary and the rest of the 2016 crop are free to condemn him for it. “I support the president’s noble goal of bringing the undocumented out of the shadows,” she’ll say, in perfect left-speak, “but we need to let the people’s representatives work this out in Congress.” That’s a win/win answer, pandering to the Latino voters she needs in 2016 while distancing herself from O for the benefit of independents. And of course, amnesty fans who are grateful to Obama will end up expressing it by voting for her, notwithstanding her (tepid, phony) opposition to it.

Meanwhile, issuing the order would have some nice political benefits for Obama. It’d be his way of showing his deeply demoralized base that he’s not giving up on progressivism entirely, even if he ends up making a deal or two with the evil GOP. And it’d be a clever way to throw the new Republican Congress off-balance, putting Boehner and McConnell in the agonizing position of deciding whether to pander to their base by fiercely opposing the order or to pander to Latinos they’re wooing for 2016 by going easy on Obama over it.

Obama had delayed his promised executive action out of fear of making even more trouble for Democrats in the midterms, but Esther Yu-Hsi Lee observes that the delay might actually have hurt some candidates:

Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) vacated his Senate seat for Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) on Tuesday night, setting off speculation that low Latino turnout was the cause. Advocacy groups like Presente and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) have actively called on Latinos, who were a decisive force in the 2012 election, to resist voting for Democrats out of anger that the President hadn’t acted on promised action. Despite Udall’s loss, a Latino Decisions poll found that Latino voters in Colorado still strongly favored him over Gardner by a 71 percent to 23 percent margin. On the campaign trial, Democratic House members like Rep. Joe Garcia (D-FL) were confronted by Latino voters who demanded to know why the party — including Obama — had done nothing on immigration reform. Garcia lost his race on Tuesday to Republican challenger Carlos Curbelo.

Adrian Carrasquillo takes a closer look at Colorado, where new polling data “supports advocates’ contention that Udall’s defeat may have had something to do with immigration”:

According to a Latino Decisions election poll that connected with 400 Latino voters in Colorado in English and Spanish, on cell phones and on landlines, voters were not well-informed on the distinctions on immigration stances between the two candidates. A Colorado advocate with knowledge of the poll set to be released Wednesday said only 46% of Latino voters said they knew Udall’s stance on immigration and beliefs on Gardner’s stance were all over the place, with 21% saying he supported a path to citizenship, 38% saying he opposed “comprehensive immigration reform,” and 20% saying they didn’t know his stance.

And while Latino voters did turn out for Udall — in slightly higher aggregate numbers, according to early figures, than they voted four years ago — their share of the vote didn’t rise as fast as some expected. (Latinos make up more than 20% of the population of Colorado, according to federal figures.) So while Udall won 71% of the Latino vote, according to Latino Decisions, he fell short of Obama’s 87% showing in 2012 and Michael Bennet’s 81% in 2010, with the lack of clear distinctions on immigration as part of the reason why.