Why the biggest losers of the 2016 election will be immigration hardliners

The election won't be a referendum on Trump. It will be a referendum on Trumpist nativism.

Anti-immigration politicians lose more voters than they gain.
(Image credit: AP Photo/Guillermo Arias)

Elections market-test the appeal of ideas. Thanks to Donald Trump, this election is market-testing the idea of anti-immigration restrictionism. And if polling trends hold, this idea will be a big loser on Nov. 8.

Trump has wavered on many things, but not on his obnoxious anti-immigration stance. In fact, as Cato Institute's Alex Nowrasteh notes, Trump is the "dream candidate" of America's anti-immigration faction. He took the substance of his platform from the Center for Immigration Studies, among the nation's chief nativist outfits, and National Review Online — and he boasts the bombastic presentational style of Ann Coulter. CIS's Mark Krikorian, a regular contributor to NRO, has opined that no other candidate "has as sound and as well thought-through an immigration plan" as Trump. And Coulter, with typical restraint, has called Trump's plan the "greatest political document since the Magna Carta."

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Shikha Dalmia

Shikha Dalmia is a visiting fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University studying the rise of populist authoritarianism.  She is a Bloomberg View contributor and a columnist at the Washington Examiner, and she also writes regularly for The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and numerous other publications. She considers herself to be a progressive libertarian and an agnostic with Buddhist longings and a Sufi soul.