Mark Davis: NY mayor’s whining about migrant buses is a huge campaign gift to Gov. Abbott

·4 min read

Another week, another fresh arrival of buses in New York City filled with migrants from the Texas border. After a flurry of debate over what Gov. Greg Abbott is up to with this series of deliveries, it’s a safe bet they will continue at least until Election Day, Nov. 8.

They may not stop even then. Abbott is guided by two questions: Is it good policy and does it help him beat Beto O’Rourke? The policy answer will vary depending on whom you ask. The political answer is clearly in — it is a solid success.

The arrival of the buses in New York, combined with others that have gone to Washington, have created instant Abbott campaign ads on each occasion. First, the bus arrivals get constant national TV coverage, and then, even better, they trigger precisely the desired reaction from Democrats.

It is hard to measure the value to Abbott’s campaign of big-city liberal mayors crying foul at the arrival of a tiny sliver of the migrant waves that constantly pour across the Texas border. Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser called for National Guard deployments. New York officials, from Mayor Eric Adams to Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Manuel Castro, blasted Abbott for an outright crime against humanity.

“It is disgusting that he is using human beings and treating them in such a way,” Castro said Monday.

Adams lamented last week: “This is horrific. Some of the families on the bus wanted to go to other locations, and they were not allowed to do so.”

It’s hard to know where to begin. Start with the optics of two loud, proud “sanctuary cities” convulsing upon the arrival of the very populations they seemed to invite. Throw in the sheer presumptuousness of sanctuary mayors demanding that migrants should get to choose their destinations, and Abbott may not have to run a border-related campaign ad in the 12 weeks to Election Day.

The timing could not be better for the Republican governor, who coasted to a primary win over two opponents who positioned themselves to his right on the issue. Don Huffines, Allen West and their voters (roughly 25 percent of the March primary total) have long lobbied for the migrant incursion to be labeled an “invasion,” a term Abbott has begun to use. That may help with the unity he needs to defeat O’Rourke, ideally by more than the squeaker margin of the former congressman’s 2018 loss to Sen. Ted Cruz.

New York officials are doing all they can to provide Abbott additional ad material. Texas, Adams’ press secretary proclaimed, is “finally admitting to what we’ve known he’s been doing all along. His continued use of human beings as political pawns is a disgusting and embarrassing stain on the state of Texas.” Castro called it “morally corrupt” and “cowardly.”

There’s an old World War II bomber pilot quote: “If you’re catching heavy flak, you know you’re over the target.” In the war of words that will fill the days between now and Nov. 8, the Abbott campaign will have much to say about the governor’s accomplishments and promises. It seems he will be aided by the additional words of critics who are oozing hypocrisy with every gripe.

“New York is the city it is because of our rich heritage of welcoming immigrants,” Castro boasted in a supposed attempt to paint his city’s open arms in direct contrast to the reception migrants receive in Texas. But that is a hard comparison to draw when the city seems at least as bent out of shape about a few busloads of arrivals while our entire state sustains tens of thousands of attempted entries per month.

So, look for the bus brigades to continue. As the original philosophy stated, if Democrats won’t come to the border, Texas will bring the border to them. It’s easy to weave poetic policies carrying sweet names like “sanctuary city.” It is quite another to get a big dose of what those policies actually mean and the toll they exact.

Amid the withering attacks from various Democrats, one natural political enemy delivered grudging congratulations. Former New York Gov. David Paterson called the story “one of the most brilliant political strategies I’ve heard in a long time.”

Maybe it’s the freedom that comes from no longer holding office, but Paterson could scarcely contain his compliment: “There are a lot of things I don’t like about what he is doing. However, sometimes you have to tip your cap to your opponent. And in this case, his sending hundreds of aliens who come into the country by bus to New York City, which is a sanctuary city, has really paid dividends to him politically.”

Indeed, it has.

Mark Davis hosts a morning radio show on 660-AM and at Follow him on Twitter: @markdavis.

Mark Davis hosts a morning radio show on 660-AM and at Follow him on Twitter: @markdavis.
Mark Davis hosts a morning radio show on 660-AM and at Follow him on Twitter: @markdavis.