House Republicans running scared from voters who oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants will have to deal with immigration reform sooner than later, and might need a new House speaker to lead the way, says a GOP political strategist who ran for Congress this year.
Both parties in Congress have mishandled the immigration issue and used it for political purposes, Weston Wamp, a former congressman's son who lost his own bid this summer for a U.S. House seat in Tennessee, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV
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But Wamp conceded that immigration is causing more trouble for Republicans than Democrats heading into November's midterm elections.
And Wamp, who at 27 was one of 2014's younger GOP primary candidates, did not entirely disagree with another "MidPoint" guest, liberal political strategist Brad Bannon, that Republicans "just don't have the courage" to face down their base on the need for a comprehensive immigration overhaul.
"He's not far off," Wamp said of Bannon's harsh appraisal.
"This is an issue that the vast majority of House Republicans are scared to death of," said Wamp. "And it's very difficult to tell what the real impact of immigration's going to be here, in the next month leading up to the midterms, because in every state it's different.
"In Arkansas, [Republican House member and Senate candidate] Tom Cotton is going to accuse [incumbent Democratic] Senator [Mark] Pryor of being for amnesty," Wamp said. "In Colorado, [Republican Senate candidate] Cory Gardner is going to have to move toward the center because that's a state with a large Latino population. So it's really hard to dissect what this means."
But Wamp argued that not long after Nov. 4, the political landscape is likely to change.
"At some point, the people — particularly voters in the middle — are going to gravitate toward candidates and elected officials who are willing just to talk about this issue in substantive terms — unlike most of the Congress, where right now the consensus among a lot of House Republicans is we're literally going to deport 10-plus million people who are living here right now," he said.
He predicted that especially if the GOP wins majorities in both houses in November, it will start to engage with those voters who want a realistic discussion of immigration reform.
"It's going to be slightly disingenuous," Wamp said, "but you'll see Republicans get serious about immigration reform moving into 2016, to try to be the party of legal immigration — of giving opportunity to minorities in this country — and frankly, put themselves in a really strong position in states where we need Latino voters to make the case that we're now their party, and that they can trust that we're going to do what we say."
Asked which Republican leader in Congress will step up to that challenge, Wamp said, "maybe the next speaker of the House."
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