The immigration issue continues to play out precisely as I predicted here. EconoPundit links to a National Review article by John O’Sullivan.
What makes the Democrats’ task of recovery so difficult is that the issues that most concern voters — namely, national security and moral issues — fit into the popular spectrum better (i.e., the Democrats and the voters are at opposite ends of the spectrum on such issues — with the GOP in the middle). But because the Democrats take their cue from elite institutions such as Hollywood and the media, they never realize their vulnerability. And every election defeat astonishes them.
If a Democrat were to outflank the GOP on an issue with a high salience on the popular spectrum, they might get back in the game. Senator Hillary Clinton has hinted she might do precisely that over illegal immigration — where President Bush is extremely vulnerable. But the Democrats’ first forays into reconsidering such sensitive policies have plainly run into the sands of timidity, dogmatism, and elite complacency.
As long as that is the case, the Democrats will continue to lose — and continue to be surprised.
The Republican party is ripe for division over this issue. As O’Sullivan points out, it is simply a matter of someone(i.e., Hillary) giving the Republicans a push over the edge. If Hillary moves to the right on this issue, you can take it to the bank that she’s throwing her hat in for ’08.