Republicans should be willing to make a deal on immigration


Published December 6, 2022

The Washington Post

Reports on Monday that a bipartisan immigration deal might be in the works were predictably scorned by some on the right. They seem to have forgotten something Ronald Reagan often said: Compromise is good.

Ideologues typically prefer the perfect over the possible. Reagan had to contend with that attitude frequently. Conservatives often condemned his deals, from the tax hikes he signed as governor to his 1987 arms control treaty with the Soviet Union.

Reagan’s attitude was different. As I noted in my biography of the Gipper, his leadership skills drew from his time as the lead negotiator for movie actors in their dealings with powerful studio heads. He often said that he went into those bargaining sessions knowing he couldn’t get everything he wanted, but he could get a lot if he was willing to strike a deal. He also understood he could go back in future sessions for more.

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Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, studies and provides commentary on American politics. His work focuses on how America’s political order is being upended by populist challenges, from the left and the right. He also studies populism’s impact in other democracies in the developed world.

Photo by Kerwin Elias on Unsplash


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