GOP not falling for Hillary’s immigration trap

During a recent roundtable discussion in Nevada, Hillary Clinton proclaimed that she would go even further than Barack Obama to establish a pathway to citizenship for the millions of illegals living in the United States. Many slammed the statement as empty pandering to Latinos, but it served a second purpose as a trap for her Republican opponents:

“There’s this theory that Hillary Clinton went to Nevada and set a trap for the Republicans,” NPR’s White House correspondent Tamara Keith said on CNN’s “New Day.” “She went to Nevada and talked about immigration, went to the left of President Obama and was essentially saying, ‘I dare you to say something that will make Latino voters not like you.’ ”

Steve McMahon, CEO and founding partner of the communications firm Purple Strategies,explained on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Clinton’s campaign is trying to get the GOP field to define itself as conservative so that the party’s eventual nominee has trouble later courting moderates. “The Clinton campaign is tactically very smart; they are setting a trap,” he said. “The Republicans will overreach because they always do and they’ll define themselves with most voters in a way that is negative.”

Unfortunately for Clinton, the GOP isn’t falling for it:

But much of the Republican field is wise to Clinton. Leading candidates such as ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and his one-time protégé, Sen. Marco Rubio, largely have avoided talking about her policy ideas. And the GOP candidates have been mindful of potential media-baited traps.

Supporters of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker spotted one earlier this year when he said in an interview that he did not know whether Mr. Obama is a Christian. A follow-up New Yorker article, unsubtly titled “The Dangerous Candidacy of Scott Walker,” drew conservative derision. The right-wing site called the piece “a frustrated shriek through clenched teeth about how that wascally wabbit from Wisconsin slipped through the ‘gotcha’ trap.”

Republicans aren’t stupid — they know the party needs the Latino vote. The challenge lies in striking a balance between what American citizens want and what won’t alienate the Latino community.