Welcome and happy Monday, August 20, 2018!

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President Trump is putting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials front and center ahead of the midterm elections, betting that the hard line on immigration that he rode to victory in 2016 will be a political winner once again for the GOP in 2018.

The president will hold an East Room event at the White House this afternoon that the administration bills as a “salute to the heroes” of ICE.

Law enforcement and elected officials from border states will be on hand, including Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) and members of the National Sheriffs’ Association, who have lobbied Congress to act on Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the southern border.

The ceremony is ostensibly an official White House event but it’s also highly political. ICE has become a flashpoint in the debate over the president’s since-abandoned “zero tolerance” policy of separating children from their parents at the border.

Because of enforcement policies, ICE is reviled by the left, where stories about law enforcement officials seizing illegal immigrants go viral on a daily basis.

The New York Times: ICE detained man who was driving his pregnant wife to the hospital, later said the man was wanted for homicide.

Some of the most liberal and activist senators have joined calls to abolish ICE. Trump and his allies believe those Democrats are outside the mainstream of voter sentiment, and present an easy political target.

The decision to honor ICE agents at the White House comes as Trump and Republicans scramble to energize the GOP base amid an increasingly bleak election outlook for the party in power.

Democrats need to flip 23 seats to win control of the House. In this startling analysis, The Hill’s Reid Wilson looks at a worst-case scenario for Republicans: A 70-seat wipeout. Of course that is just his opinion and the likelihood of the Republican party losing 70 seats is somewhere between nil and zero. But some like to dream…. Democrats, looking for any crack they can find, hope to see a chance to cut into GOP governorships at the very least.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the chairman of the Senate Democratic campaign arm, said over the weekend that turnout in recent primaries and growing support from independents could even give Democrats the Senate 🤣, where they face a far tougher map.

“Everybody knows the odds are tough but the odds are getting better by the day. We’ve seen this growing momentum at the grass-roots level.” – Van Hollen, on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers”

One final note about the law enforcement gathering at the White House that underscores the tricky politics of 2018:

The National Sheriffs’ Association, which sent members to Washington to join Trump today, opposes the criminal justice reform bill that has been a priority for senior White House adviser Jared Kushner. A bipartisan measure, the “First Step Act,” is pending in the Senate following passage by the House earlier this year. Reform advocates are searching for a Senate compromise this year, but efforts may have hit a wall as the president faces resistance from allies, such as Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.), as well as potential 2020 Democratic presidential contenders, who are loath to give the president a victory on anything.

This set us back a little… for a couple reasons… it smells of federalizing the local law enforcement agencies as well additional spending and government based jobs and the second… The Tennessean favors it. Third there is the possibility the President and The Tennessean are right. The real question is should this be corrected by the Federal government or local state or municipal governments.

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