The Wall Street Journal - 13.08.2019

(Ann) #1

A4| Tuesday, August 13, 2019 PWLC101112HTGKBFAM123456789OIXX ** THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.**


CAPITAL JOURNAL
By Gerald F. Seib

lunch programs, homeless
shelters, food pantries and the
Children’s Health Insurance
Program—won’t disqualify ap-
plicants. Pregnant women and
children who rely on Medicaid
are also exempt from the rule.
The rule doesn’t affect human-
itarian-based programs for
refugees and asylum seekers.
Immigration officials will
consider the “totality of cir-
cumstances” when determin-
ing whether to deny green

cards or bar prospect immi-
grants from entry, Mr. Cuc-
cinelli said, adding that reli-
ance on government benefits
will be just one factor under
consideration.
Asked to address criticism
that the administration is bar-
ring poor immigrants from the
U.S., Mr. Cuccinelli said, “I do
not think, by any means, we’re
ready to take anything off the
Statue of Liberty,” referring to
the inscription on the statue

that reads in part: “Give me
your tired, your poor, your
huddled masses yearning to
breathe free.”
Foreigners looking to come
to the U.S. generally have to
prove they have enough in-
come to prevent them from
becoming a “public charge.”
Denials of visas on the
grounds that the applicant
could become a “public
charge” have increased signifi-
cantly during the Trump ad-

U.S. NEWS


Easy Primary Season Gives Trump an Edge


president’s former communi-
cations director over the
weekend suggested Republi-
cans may need to look for an
alternative to Mr. Trump.
But if that is the extent of
the opposition from within,
the president can look for-
ward to cruising through the
primary season without hav-
ing to absorb the kinds of
blows from inside his own
party that the Democratic
candidates are busy landing
on one another right now.
He will have the political
equivalent of a first-round
bye in the playoffs.

H


ow important is that?
History tells the tale.
Simply being the in-
cumbent in a presidential
campaign is itself an enor-
mous advantage. Since 1900,
a sitting president has run
20 times. Fifteen times the
incumbent has won.
Being an incumbent with
no serious intra-party rival
vastly improves that incum-
bency advantage. Four of the
five incumbent presidents
who lost their races in that
time span had to beat back a
big internal challenge. The

last three incumbents who
failed in their re-election ef-
forts each faced significant
primary opponents: Gerald
Ford was challenged by Ron-
ald Reagan in 1976, Jimmy
Carter by Ted Kennedy in
1980, and George H.W. Bush
by Pat Buchanan in


  1. Each of those chal-
    lenges diverted precious re-
    election resources and un-
    dermined party unity.
    There is no sign that Mr.
    Trump will face such a prob-
    lem. Mr. Weld is trying, of
    course. He was at the Iowa
    State Fair over the weekend,
    along with a passel of Demo-
    cratic candidates, trying to
    generate some interest. But
    polls to date show Mr.
    Trump ahead of him by 70 to
    80 percentage points. In a
    straw poll at the Iowa fair,
    the president’s advantage
    was more like 90 points.
    There are other Republi-
    cans who could make a more
    serious run, but they appar-
    entlywon’tdoso.Twoin
    particular—Maryland Gov.
    Larry Hogan and former
    Ohio Gov. John Kasich—both
    considered the possibility,
    but are taking a pass. Other


Trump critics from within
the GOP who could be seri-
ous opponents—former Sens.
Jeff Flake of Arizona and
Bob Corker of Tennessee, for
example—have made no
moves in that direction.
The door isn’t closed just
yet. Over the weekend, for-
mer Trump communications
director Anthony Scara-
mucci—who has fallen into a
long-distance feud with Mr.

Trump after charging that
the president’s racially
charged comments are divid-
ing the country—said Repub-
licans may need to look for a
new candidate.
In an interview with Ax-
ios, Mr. Scaramucci com-
pared the president to a nu-
clear reactor heading into
meltdown, and said that if
Mr. Trump “doesn’t reform

his behavior, it will not just
be me, but many others will
be considering helping to
find a replacement in 2020.”
But with Mr. Trump’s job-
approval among Republicans
running in the 90% range,
the incentive for others to
jump in simply isn’t very
great.

C


onsidering how divi-
sive Mr. Trump was
within his own party
just four years ago, this situ-
ation represents a remark-
able turnaround. It’s not an
accident, though. The Trump
political machine began pre-
paring for re-election virtu-
ally from the moment the
president was inaugurated,
so it has left no open paths
for other Republicans.
In addition, Mr. Trump
himself has been brutal in
attacking Republicans who
criticize him, making it
clear that taking him on
would be a painful exercise.
Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, for
example, is a onetime
Trump critic who has toned
down his criticism as he
tends to his own Senate re-
election campaign.

Meantime, on the other
side of the political battle-
field stands a crowded field
of Democrats, who spent a
lot more time beating up on
each other than going after
the president in their first
two rounds of debates.
The president may enjoy
another tactical advantage.
There’s a good chance that a
significant independent or
third-party presidential can-
didate will emerge, a devel-
opment that would likely
only split the anti-Trump
vote and siphon support
away from the president’s
eventual Democratic chal-
lenger. Former Starbucks
CEO Howard Schultz has
said he will consider next
month whether to jump in as
an independent.
Third-party candidates
Gary Johnson, a libertarian,
and Jill Stein, of the Green
Party, siphoned off almost
six million votes and
wounded Democrat Hillary
Clinton far more in the 2016
election than is commonly
recognized. A repeat of that
exercise would only add to
the tactical advantages Mr.
Trump already enjoys.

Heading into re-election
season, President Trump
holds one particularly pow-
erful political advantage. It
isn’t exactly hidden, but it
isn’t discussed much either.
It is simply
this: He is an
incumbent
president who
apparently
won’t face a
significant
challenge
from within his own party.
Oh, he faces a nominal
primary challenge from for-
mer Massachusetts Gov. Wil-
liam Weld, who hasn’t held
public office in more than 20
years, and whose last cam-
paign was run on the Liber-
tarian Party line, not a Re-
publican one. And the


As election season
approaches, the
president has no
strong GOP rivals.

Justice and State departments
to determine which nonciti-
zens can be removed from the
country or prevented from
ever entering.
The use or potential use of
a benefits program such as
Medicaid, some types of hous-
ing assistance or food stamps
could disqualify an applicant.
“Through the public charge
rule, President Trump’s ad-
ministration is reinforcing the
ideals of self-sufficiency and
personal responsibility,” Ken
Cuccinelli, the acting director
of U.S. Citizenship and Immi-
gration Services, said at the
White House.
Mr. Cuccinelli said the new
rule will go into effect in mid-
October and won’t apply retro-
actively, so previous receipt of
government benefits won’t
negatively affect immigrants’
status. However, the rule
would apply to people who are
seeking to change their immi-
gration status.
The use of several other
benefits—including school


Continued from Page One


ministration, from a net total
of 164 in the 2016 fiscal year
to 5,518 in fiscal 2018, govern-
ment statistics show.
Backers of the effort said
they are simply looking to en-
sure self-sufficiency from im-
migrants and to prevent them
from becoming a drain on U.S.
taxpayers.
The rule’s critics worry that
it would have a chilling effect
on immigrants’ use of a range
of social benefits, with some
immigrants potentially opting
out of benefits that aren’t cov-
ered by the rule because they
don’t fully understand it.
“The broad concern is over-
whelmingly about chilling ef-
fects and the fact that the rule
is lengthy, complex, confusing,
and there’s a significant risk
that families with immigrant
members will be fearful of re-
ceiving public benefits,” said
Mark Greenberg, a senior fellow
at the Migration Policy Insti-
tute, a nonpartisan think tank.
The institute said the new
requirements stemming from
the rule would block a majority
of applicants from Mexico and
Central America, Africa and
Asia, while affecting fewer from
Europe, Canada and Oceania.
“DHS could begin denying
more than 50% of all marriage
green card applicants, each
year forcing nearly 200,
married couples to either leave
the United States together or

live apart indefinitely,” said
Doug Rand, a former Obama
administration official and co-
founder of Boundless Immigra-
tion, a technology firm for
families navigating the immi-
gration process.
A court challenge is likely,
potentially based on whether
the federal agencies that
crafted the regulation followed
the Administrative Procedure
Act, which governs how agen-
cies develop federal rules and
allows for public input.
Democratic attorneys gen-
eral from 16 states and the Dis-
trict of Columbia told the White
House Office of Management
and Budget on July 31 they be-
lieved the administration had
“entirely failed to estimate the
true costs” of public-charge
regulations proposed last fall,
in a sign that the states will liti-
gate to try to block the rule’s
implementation.
They argue there would be
“extensive injury to our states’
economies” as millions of for-
eign-born residents lose ac-
cess to medical care and state
food and cash benefits that
would result in a reduction of
economic output, wages and
jobs in their states.
The attorneys general have
banded together to challenge
the administration previously.
The rule has been a particu-
lar priority for top White
House aide Stephen Miller.

U.S. Aims


At Green


Cards


MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa—
When Sen. Kamala Harris can-
celed a visit to Iowa in June
for a Senate vote, some Demo-
cratic activists in the state
voiced frustration with the
Californian’s level of invest-
ment in the country’s first
nominating contest.
Two months later, Ms. Har-
ris made 17 stops across 11
counties in five days in a bus
wrapped in the campaign’s
pastel, boldface logo spelling
out her name. At most stops,
she declared to the crowd:
“Iowa has made me a better
candidate.”
After a slow start in the
state, with Ms. Harris rarely
venturing beyond the more
populous Des Moines area, her
campaign is ramping up its
presence and its message
against President Trump, but
still lags organizationally be-
hind much more established
candidates. The campaign,
which had been focusing more
on South Carolina, now has
seven offices with 65 paid
staffers in Iowa and launched
her first TV ad last week—the
first top-tier presidential can-
didate to buy airtime in the
state.
“Her organization was per-
ceived as a little bit slow for
someone in her position,” said
Jeff Fager, chairman of the
Iowa Democrats in Henry
County, where Ms. Harris held
a rally with nearly 400 people
in attendance. The county is


one of the smallest in the
state. “She’s starting to catch
up,” he said.
Ms. Harris’s renewed in-
vestments in Iowa come as the
most recent public poll shows
former Vice President Joe Bi-
den maintaining a tenuous
lead in the state, with Massa-
chusetts Sen. Elizabeth War-
ren on his heels, and Ms. Har-
ris on the rise—but still a
distant third. Nationally, Ms.
Harris has dipped in polls af-
ter the bump from her first
debate performance.
Rather than aiming at her
Democratic foes in the contest,
Ms. Harris has in her Iowa
events focused more on mak-
ing a direct case against Mr.
Trump, calling his ego “frag-
ile” and condemning his rheto-
ric as divisive. A majority of
Democrats in the state—who
tend to be liberal and over-
whelmingly white—say they
are prioritizing a candidate’s
ability to take on the president
over the issues, polls show.
“Dude gotta go,” Ms. Harris
said at her rallies, laying out
the “rap sheet” against him.
The crowd at some events
chanted the line back to her.
Undecided Democrats
picked up on her focus on Mr.
Trump, based on more than
two dozen interviews at the
Iowa State Fair and at Ms.
Harris’s events. Those who
said they had recently added
her to their list of top choices
said they did so because they
liked her toughness and be-
lieved she could take on the

president.
“She’s going after the right
guy,” said Judy Hawk, 73, a re-
tired resident of Burlington
who attended a Harris rally in
Mount Pleasant.
Democratic activists and
strategists have been stunned
by the organizing juggernaut
Ms. Warren has already devel-
oped in the state, but many
still believe the race remains
fluid for the top-tier candi-
dates, especially with Mr. Bi-
den continuing to make un-
forced errors that are raising
questions about his age.
Many of those undecided
Iowans interviewed by The
Wall Street Journal over the
last week brought up Ms. Har-
ris—along with Ms. Warren

and South Bend Mayor Pete
Buttigieg—as the most appeal-
ing alternatives to Mr. Biden.
Asked in an interview on
her bus about Mr. Biden’s
gaffes, Ms. Harris did not en-
gage. “I’ll leave it to his cam-
paign to explain it,” she said.
Making stops across the
state, Ms. Harris introduced
herself to patrons at a bar in
Sioux City, ordered tacos dur-
ing a tour of local businesses
in Storm Lake, flipped pork
chops at the Iowa State Fair in
Des Moines, swayed and
clapped to the music at a Bap-
tist church and inspected a
vegetable patch at a farm in
Lacona.
“I can feel the momentum,”
Ms. Harris said in the inter-

view. “I really feel like the
people of Iowa have been very
interested and responsive.”
As part of her “3 a.m.”
agenda—proposals for resolv-
ing the issues people wake up
worrying about—Ms. Harris
also held one event each day
focused on a different policy
issue from health care in Burl-
ington to affordable housing in
Des Moines.
Ms. Harris is competing for
support with Ms. Warren, who
is known for having by far the
largest Iowa operation and at-
tracting massive crowds in re-
cent days. Ms. Warren is also
known for her ambitious lib-
eral policy plans, so Ms. Harris
used her own policy events to
pitch herself as the progres-

sive, yet “problem-solving”
candidate with a less disrup-
tive approach. She balanced
that with rallies in the eve-
nings where she went after
Mr. Trump more.
The campaign got a boost
Saturday with an endorsement
from influential activists Bob
and Sue Dvorsky, who had
been aggressively courted by
all the major campaigns.
While walking around the
state fair with Ms. Harris, Ms.
Dvorsky said in an interview
that she was “the complete
package” that could excite the
base and defeat Mr. Trump.
“You make a caucus deci-
sion with your gut and your
heart,” she said. “She just
does it for us.”

BYTARINIPARTI


With Bus Tour,


Harris Looks to


AdvanceinIowa


Sen. Kamala Harris, a Democratic presidential candidate, visiting the Bickford Senior Living Center in Muscatine, Iowa, on Monday.

ALEX EDELMAN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Green card holders received assistance applying for citizenship at an event in New York last year.

JOHN MOORE/GETTY IMAGES
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