ONE MAN’S OPINION By: Jesse J. Lewis, Sr.

Immigration, Abortion, Guns

These are the three (3) things that the Republicans are definitely concerned with and so are the Democrats, but they add to the list women’s issues, income and equality.

Immigration
Illegal immigration has become a defining issue in the race for the Republican nomination for president, as GOP front-runner Donald Trump has focused his campaign on claims that illegal immigration is destroying the country and his ideas for solving the problem.  Most Americans say the solutions ought to focus more on border security and a path to citizenship over deportation, but about half are receptive to Trump’s proposals including building a wall along the entire border with Mexico and ending birthright citizenship for children of those in the country illegally.

Asked whether the nation’s top priority in dealing with illegal immigration should be deporting those already in the country, developing a plan to stop new illegal immigration, or developing a plan to allow those already in the U.S. illegally with jobs to become legal residents, a plurality say a plan to make those here illegally, legal residents is most important (46 percent), next 39 percent chose border security, and just 14 percent called deportation the top priority.

Both the Democrats and Republicans believe something should be done about immigration, but they differ on the process.

Abortion
A congressional fight looms over funding for Planned Parenthood following the release this summer of several secretly recorded, heavily edited videos of Planned Parenthood employees discussing the sale of fetal tissue for scientific research, but the new CNN/ORC Poll shows the public would much rather continue funding Planned Parenthood than face a government shutdown.

About 71 percent say it’s more important for Congress to approve a budget agreement that would avoid a government shutdown than to defund Planned Parenthood, 22 percent say it’s a bigger priority to eliminate the organization’s federal funding. That’s more saying it’s important to avert a shutdown now than in September 2013, just before a budget fight over federal funding for some portions of the Affordable Care Act led to a partial government shutdown.

In the new poll, 87 percent of Democrats and 74 percent of Independents say avoiding a shutdown is the key priority while Republicans are just about evenly divided, with 48 percent saying avoiding a shutdown is more important and 44 percent saying ending Planned Parenthood’s funding is most important.

Guns
Most polling has shown the public broadly in favor of expanded background checks for gun buyers and preventing those with mental health issues from purchasing guns, but the new poll shows majorities think current laws are about right or even too harsh, and doubt that expanded background checks would keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill or convicted.

Overall, 41 percent say existing laws make it too easy for people to buy guns, down from 56 percent saying so about a month after the shooting deaths of 27 people at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.  About half, 49 percent, say current laws are about right, and 10 percent that they make it too difficult to buy a gun.

At the same time, many express doubts that expanded gun laws would be able to prevent those with mental health problems from buying guns (44 percent see that as likely, 56 percent unlikely), or that such laws would keep guns out of the hands of convicted criminals (42 percent say that’s likely, 56 percent unlikely).  But most also say it wouldn’t necessarily make it harder for a law-abiding citizen without mental health problems to buy one, 57 percent say it’s unlikely to do that.

Making the Middle Class Secure
Republicans have seized on the populist moment. Trump, Scott Walker, John Kasick and others have all promised to help the “average” Americans who have been left behind in recent years.  They have railed against big interests, warning that most families are struggling to make ends meet.  The halting nature of the economic recovery has been one of the principal factors they’ve cited to question the recovery that has taken place in the last several years of President Barack Obama’s administration.

The problem is that the candidates have not said much about exactly how they would actually help the middle class.  Many of their stances – going after unions (what does that mean?) or opposing the minimum wage – would actually reduce the number of middle-class wage earning positions.

I still contend that Donald Trump will not be president of the United States.  His only claim to fame is that everybody is stupid, but him.

Ben Carson rose to fame only because he criticized Barack Obama.