Turnout Game-Changer?

It’s too early to know how serious they are, or what they know about the administration’s plans, but congressional Democrats issued a warning today that Republicans have until the end of July to take some action on immigration reform or the president will “act unilaterally.” This presumably means a restatement or expansion of the administration’s “prioritization” of deportation procedures to protect children, even in the wake of conservative rage over the current influx of kids from Central America.

Of all the things likely to happen between now and November, this intensification of the immigration fight has the most potential to change turnout patterns, particularly among Latinos whose enthusiasm for Obama has been flagging, and whose midterm turnout is normally quite low. As I noted earlier today, what’s really interesting is that the battle lines staked out by the two parties are over levels of deportation, in the past a problem for Obama, but potentially a much bigger problem for Republicans who appear eager to line up the cattle cars and start the trains a-rolling.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.