It doesn’t matter who is funding the migrant caravan trekking north toward the U.S.-Mexico border at the moment. It doesn’t matter because President Trump is the one who benefits.
Trump knows this, telling a rally in Houston on Monday that the midterm elections just became the “election of Kavanaugh, caravan, law and order, and common sense.” And he isn’t wrong.
The United Nations estimates that their ranks swell past 7,000 migrants mostly fleeing the violence and poverty of Central America. The Associated Press reports that 1,140 miles stand between them and the nearest border crossing in McAllen, Texas. That makes the marching caravan a mobile campaign ad that will underscore Trump’s calls for border security up until Election Day.
[Related: 'We have a border crisis': Half a million caught illegally entering US in fiscal 2018]
Every time you see a Caravan, or people illegally coming, or attempting to come, into our Country illegally, think of and blame the Democrats for not giving us the votes to change our pathetic Immigration Laws! Remember the Midterms! So unfair to those who come in legally.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 22, 2018
It has become a favorite talking point of the president, who is urging the electorate to keep Congress controlled by Republicans. It is a disaster for Democrats, who would much rather be talking about healthcare or ethics investigations or really anything besides the human horde carrying flags from their homes and breaking down barriers. It is the perfect political storm.
There has been stupid speculation, most notably from Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., that liberal billionaire mega-donor George Soros has been funding the caravan. This, of course, is ridiculous. Soros would have to be an idiot to hand the Right a ready-made political crisis this close to November. It would make more sense to see Russian President Vladimir Putin at the head of rabble leading them north. The caravan does more to help than hurt Trump.
BREAKING: Footage in Honduras giving cash 2 women & children 2 join the caravan & storm the US border @ election time. Soros? US-backed NGOs? Time to investigate the source! pic.twitter.com/5pEByiGkkN— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) October 17, 2018
Conspiracy theories meant to exaggerate actually mitigate the crisis. Republicans like Gaetz are at risk of repeating the mistake made by Democrats during the family separation crisis. Instead of focusing on the real humanitarian tragedy of that crisis, they demanded that ICE be abolished. Never mind that ICE wasn’t even at the border. It was license to dismiss the entire episode.
Republicans are better off sticking to the facts. No need to make the migrants more sinister or imagine shadowy globalist backers pulling their strings. The longer the caravan lurches on, the better Republican chances are of holding onto their majorities in Congress.