Immigration, inflation, and crime. Photo credit: AFP/Rebecca Noble via Getty Images
Putting aside all the drama of the Trump indictments, the ill-advised dumping of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, and the rapid aging of Joe Biden, three issues are sitting on the docket that the 2024 presidential hopefuls must address. These issues stand above the many others that crowd the platter and will likely be the determinative matters that settle the outcome less than 400 days from now. In no particular order, they are immigration, inflation, and crime. Any presidential candidate unprepared to take these three on will soon lack credibility.
I recently wrote about this problem in New York City. It exists in most big cities, including Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles. Comprehensive complications arise from the flow of illegal immigrants into a country, building on each other like a house of cards. The motive to give asylum seekers a place to live reflects a long American tradition. Providing unlimited spaces for people unwilling to follow the protocols does not. The idea of open borders has been in practice during the Biden Administration, and the results are devastating. Before people are allowed to enter a country, there has to be an infrastructure prepared to deal with the increase. Housing, medical care, education, and social welfare need to be beefed up, funded, staffed, and trained to handle the influx America has seen at its southern border.
The shortage of housing, long delays in medical care, overcrowded classrooms, and social welfare systems stretched to the limit all testify to the influx of unexpected people crossing borders into Canada and the United States. Unless politicians bite the bullet and recognize the shortsightedness of welcoming all newcomers regardless of legal status, these problems will surge.
Some on the Left believe this population provides a voting block they can lure into supporting them for years. As a result, they push for the ignoring of laws, the creation of programs, and the making of special offers. For instance, upon entry to the southern border, some new arrivals receive a cell phone, allowing them to use an APP that tracks their movements. Many simply dump the phone and do not respond to requests to attend a hearing or face questioning.
The lack of enforcement hurts the nation’s ability to keep track of these migrants. Eventually, the migrants find work or access generous social programs without proper legal standing. If they stay long enough, they marry, have children, and become dependent on various government programs. Worse, if they have criminal records, America increases one of the problems this article attempts to address. The Left only sees the advantage of more votes, securing their power, and turning a productive population into a dependent one.
This battle has been argued back and forth for decades, and Americans of all stripes are growing weary. Joe Biden’s approval ratings on the border issue are in the tank. If he continues to listen to his left flank, he faces a bumpy road on the way to re-election. It probably explains why he had a change of heart about constructing a wall to reduce migrant traffic along the Mexican border. The immigration issue will dominate in next year’s election, and Republicans hold the advantage one year out.
Inflation arrived in early 2022 and remains a challenge. There can be different explanations for inflation’s rise. The unwarranted and relentless flow of government spending into national economies worldwide during the pandemic has to be considered a leading factor. When COVID led to shutdowns in all economic sectors, it only made sense to provide compensation for families affected. Using the pandemic to shove out billions of dollars, create new programs, and reset the market-based economies of the Western World to reflect a Marxist redistributionist model never made sense. In the USA, the Trump administration added a spending stimulus of three billion dollars. When Joe Biden came into office, the Democratic Party decided to add three billion more dollars to an economy already recovering. By 2022, inflation began to track upward, and while it has come down, it remains higher than it should be and keeps the pressure on interest rates to stay high.
The price of gas, real estate, and groceries have all been increasing for 18 months. Those in higher income brackets, the financially secure, can afford the price rises. They don’t mind climate change taxes, the added utility charges, or the inconvenience of more regulations. Unfortunately, the elite represent a small portion of the population. The common labourer, the everyday citizen, lives on a much tighter budget, making ends meet pay cheque to pay cheque. They do most of the living and working in a community, and when they feel the inflation crunch, it shows in the polls.
That is why Joe Biden has bottomed out in recent ratings, despite spending his summer trying to convince voters of the successes of Bidenomics. Repeatedly, the Biden administration has indicated the answer to any economic shortcoming rests on new spending. If the economy does not soon show evidence of turning around and heads into recession, it wouldn’t matter if the Democrats ran a reincarnated FDR. Once again, the advantage goes to the Republicans.
As for crime, blue cities have taken a relaxed approach since 2020. After the George Floyd tragedy, many on the Left thought defunding the police was a good idea. When that became unpopular, the new push came from prosecutors who decided that applying the law depended on the background of the person charged. A person from a disadvantaged group deserved special consideration. Whether or not to prosecute them would hinge on their historical standing in the community. People of colour could have charges overlooked, altered, or dismissed. As this played out, hideous scenes of looting, theft, violence, and rioting plagued cities like San Francisco. Companies began to pull out of these inner city areas, leaving communities without well-known stores like Walgreen’s, famous fast food restaurants, or renowned department chains.
It will not turn these cities Red, but the publicity on news reports, social media, and television highlights the problem. When voters feel uneasy about crime, they turn to the Republican Party.
The latest polls tell the story. In an NBC survey released less than a month ago, the GOP led the Democratic Party 50-20 on border security, 46-20 on crime, and 49-28 on dealing with the economy. I don’t have to remind anyone that mistaking NBC as partial to the Republican Party stretches credulity. If this remains unchanged, it will soon harden, and the Democrats’ chance of holding the White House, the Senate, or reclaiming Congress will be as likely as Joe Biden finding the Fountain of Youth.
Dave Redekop is a retired elementary resource teacher who now works part-time at the St. Catharines Courthouse as a Registrar. He has worked on political campaigns since high school and attended university in South Carolina for five years, where he earned a Master’s in American History with a specialization in Civil Rights. Dave loves reading biographies.