(Politico) – With Barack Obama’s sweeping move to reorder the nation’s immigration system through the stroke of the presidential pen, Democrats say the White House is making a dramatic and likely irreversible bet that the ultra-diverse Obama coalition will sustain the party through 2016 and beyond.
For months, the premier political question haunting Democrats — aside from Hillary Clinton’s yes-or-no decision on 2016 — has been whether Obama’s unprecedented support from young people, women and nonwhite voters will roll over into a new campaign, with a new candidate at the top of the ticket.
After this week, senior Democrats say, it had better.
The president’s decision to use his executive powers to protect some 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation is bound to draw a backlash from middle-of-the-road white voters. Republicans assailed Obama’s handling of immigration in the midterm elections, catering to a conservative and notably less diverse electorate with ads in states such as Arkansas and New Hampshire. Early polling shows significant suspicion of Obama’s unilateral action: An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found 48 percent of Americans pre-emptively opposed to the executive actions, versus 38 percent ready to endorse them.