Last week, President Trump was railing on social media and during his campaign rallies about a “migrant caravan” moving north from Honduras toward the U.S. border. Our “Political Insiders” think the issue could be a potent one for Republicans at the polls.

The group of approximately 7,000 people has journeyed through Guatemala and into Mexico, but are still about 1,000 miles from the southern U.S. border. Most of the migrants are fleeing grave danger in their home countries and intend to petition for asylum if and when they reach the United States.

In response, the Defense Department said they plan to deploy hundreds of troops to the border to back up the border patrol, and President Trump is reportedly mulling an executive order to close the southern border. The caravan travels about 20 miles per day.

Republicans, Democrats and our readers who responded to our survey say President Trump’s antipathy toward the group could boost Republicans in the November midterm elections.

  • 80% of the Republicans on our panel said the issue would help the GOP.

  • 57% of the Democrats who responded said the caravan issue is good politically for Republicans.

  • 72% of our readers thought the news about the caravan would benefit Republicans at the polls.

The issue was dominating headlines for a few days until it was knocked off the front page by a series of pipe bombs mailed to prominent Democrats and critics of President Trump.

 

Selected anonymous comments:

It should actually be a non-event, but Trump is blowing it out of proportion to energize the Republican voters through fear mongering. His tactic will work.

Never underestimate the power of an enraged Republican. Seriously, how do we let this guy bloviate as he does? Where are the intelligent, responsible Republicans?

Border protection is a strong Republican issue. Should help.

Bad timing for Dems, a gaggle of immigrants threatening to cross the border illegally will motivate the base of the GOP.

There is no way this can help Democrats. It more or less is perfectly written to fire up the Trump supporters. This single event probably saved 3 to 6 Republican seats in the House.

Ooooh, Trump is outraged? Oh no. Someone, please get him his blankie and bottle with warm milk...The GOP is going to get ROLLED in two weeks, and deservedly so... Pre-Existing conditions coverage repeal, anyone? Anyone?

This can be called either way: the Republicans will use this to motivate their far-Right anti-immigrant base, while Democrats will use it to demonstrate that we need to find a way to cope with immigrants because they are coming with or without our help. Overall, I think that the Republican base feels more strongly about it, so they might have a slight advantage.

It helps Dems because the Trump administration is likely to do something outrageous to stop or intercept the caravan, turning independents against him even further.

People love a tough President defending them.

Republicans are the party of fear and intimidation. President Trump will play if for all it's worth.

This issue will help energize the racist wing of the Republican party and increase voter turnout from that segment of the population.

I'm not sure if candidates with either party will benefit in a major way, due to the polarization coming from both sides. Each candidate's philosophy on emigration will become fodder for what does or does not happen at the border. Moderate voices will be drowned out by the extreme voices coming from either side, and I do not think that a reasonable solution can be reached amid all of the clamors. My heart aches for those innocent people caught in the crossfire. Why can't we all just get along? Hate and fear mongering come from the extreme right and left. I am tired of hearing it. I avoid watching or listening to national news broadcasts for that reason. I am not a child politically and do not need to spoon-fed sound bites of political dogma that keeps fueling the rancor that is all around us. Gees-Louise!

In states with early voting and vote by mail, the migrant caravan may have little impact. In Utah, over 100,000 ballots had been scanned by October 22. That doesn't count the ballots in the mail, or the ballots received waiting to be scanned. The majority of the voters in Utah will vote BEFORE November 6. Timing is everything.

Are Democrats willing to run on an immigration policy/platform where we disintegrate the border?

It will bring like-minded Republican voters to the polls. It may matter to Democrats, but not enough to bring them out to the polls.

Any Democrat who is paying attention can see how Donald Trump's sensationalizing of this event is not good for our country. I think more and more people are disgusted with him and his racist reactions to the plight of these people.

There is no way this is good for the Dems.

Fear and nationalism play into the hands of the far right.