Joe Guzzardi: Pro-Environment platform a mid-term winner

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Voters deliver their ballot to a polling station in Tempe, Ariz., on Nov. 3, 2020. Matt York / AP

The latest mid-term election polling shows that Republicans and Democrats are dead even. In January, the same polling firm Statista had the GOP ahead by four points. Other polls like 538.com indicate more or less the same outcome. But if voters have learned anything since the 2016 and 2020 elections, it would be to distrust polling firm projections.

Results from 2020 polls favored Democrats, with Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) as likely losers. But Collins, 6.5 points behind, or so said the pre-election pollsters, won by 8.6 points. The other five candidates that the prognosticators wrote off as doomed won handily.

Pollsters have an explanation to defend their theory that congressional Democrats might still retain the majority, despite record inflation, rising crime rates, a botched Afghanistan withdrawal, student debt forgiveness, billions of dollars squandered in support of what’s become an endless Russia-Ukraine war, and an open border. It is that the GOP has nominated poor candidates in key swing states. Among the races, pollsters are tracking most closely are Blake Masters in Arizona vs. incumbent Mark Kelly, Herschel Walker in Georgia vs. incumbent Raphael Warnock, Adam Laxalt in Nevada vs. incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto, and Mehmet Oz vs. John Fetterman in Pennsylvania, where incumbent Republican Pat Toomey is retiring.

A state official who has no congressional voting record, Fetterman proudly notes that his wife’s family overstayed their visas, at which time their immigration status converted to unlawfully present, a clue that he favors more immigration. Fetterman’s website says he supports a “humane” immigration system, a vapid remark which confirms that he endorses Biden’s status quo.

The GOP challengers, all within striking distance, may be getting short shrift from pollsters. The candidates were persuasive enough to capture primary nominations; they’re not too tongue-tied to debate. More important, going into the general election, the GOP has as much fodder – listed above – and primo debate material as any high-office challengers in history, thanks mostly to President Biden’s slipshod governance, and the incumbents’ whole-hearted endorsement of it.

On the key open borders issue, Masters, Walker, and Laxalt have the benefit of launching an offensive against their opponents’ immigration voting records. Their rivals, Kelly, Warnock, and Cortez Masto are, like Fetterman and Biden, all-in on open borders. A review of the incumbents’ immigration votes found that each has consistently voted against reducing amnesty fraud, against curbing illegal immigrants’ rewards, against ending unnecessary employment visas, against stricter border enforcement, and against more rigorous interior enforcement.

Stumping on reducing immigration can be problematic since such a focused campaign would trigger untruthful but potentially damaging racist allegations. A winning campaign would include linking immigration to unsustainable population growth, an indisputable fact that the Census Bureau confirms. Census Bureau data predicts that by the mid-21st century, the U.S. population will increase to more than 400 million from its current 333 million, a greater than 20 percent increase.

More than half of that growth will be attributable to immigration and births to immigrants. For comparison’s sake, the Center for Immigration Studies’ researchers, based entirely on the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplements, found that in 2017 there were 35.8 million legal and illegal immigrants living in the U.S. who arrived from 1982 to 2017. Further, these immigrants had 16.9 million U.S.-born children and grandchildren. In total, immigration added 52.7 million people to the U.S. population between 1982 and 2017, accounting for a little over 56 percent of population growth during this 35-year time period.

For the nation’s population to increase by more than 65 million people, as the Census Bureau predicts, in less than 30 years, creates a grave danger that will exacerbate existing environmental problems like water shortages and land lost to urban sprawl.

Opinions about immigration and its effects often differ. But sentiments about the environmental future Americans want to ensure for their children and grandchildren are consistent. Americans want open spaces and nature’s bounty to remain for future generations to enjoy, a goal that ever-more immigration makes impossible. To win and to prove the pollsters wrong again, the GOP platform must emphasize immigration’s harmful, unwanted consequences of unchecked population growth and the environmental degradation that accompanies it.

Joe Guzzardi is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist who writes about immigration and related social issues. Joe joined Progressives for Immigration Reform in 2018 as an analyst after a ten-year career directing media relations for Californians for Population Stabilization, where he also was a Senior Writing Fellow. A native Californian, Joe now lives in Pennsylvania. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.