Donald Trump has galvanized the Republican field with his rhetoric on illegal immigration, but GOP observers in early caucus/primary states think he's gone too far.
According to Politico's weekly caucus of top strategists
in Iowa and New Hampshire, seven out of 10 Republicans say they have heard more than enough about Trump's plan, which includes the deportation of 11 million people and the end to birthright citizenship.
New Hampshire GOP insiders in particular have a harsh view of the plan — 85 percent of them think it is harmful to the party. Nearly two-thirds of Iowa Republicans agree.
And a full 97 percent of Democratic insiders said the plan is harmful for the GOP.
"He's solidly put an anchor around the neck of our party, and we'll sink because of it," an Iowa Republican told Politico.
"Enough already," another Iowa Republican said. "This kind of garbage only appeals to the hard core … while alienating the soft middle that we must win in order to take the presidency."
A New Hampshire Republican described Trump's plans as "harmful to the party, the brand, and the future of our country. What's disappointing is the speed in which other candidates follow his lead. He's forced that to be standard operation."
Trump's plan has pushed the issue of birthright citizenship to the center of the political debate, prompting a number of other candidates, such as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, to jump aboard.
Some have pointed out that his positions on immigration will likely undermine the GOP's efforts to reach out to the Latino community.
"Wasn't the whole 'GOP rebrand' effort of the 2012 loss supposed to address this … in the opposite direction?" said a New Hampshire Democrat, according to Politico.
"Quite a number of these candidates appear very willing to toss out any findings of the analysis of the last presidential election and put the general election at risk for their party," another New Hampshire Democrat said.
And those views are shared by Republicans.
"This move is not helpful in broadening the November 2016 pool of voters," a New Hampshire Republican told Politico.
"A great way to throw the general and become a permanent minority party," an Iowa Republican said.
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