One comment my friends heard more than once was "It polls well." This could be claimed for any number of bad issues, from drug testing welfare recipients to voter ID to time limits for SNAP to any number of other regressive policies.
I understand that in a (sort of) democracy politicians need to heed public opinion. I'm no politician, but I've certainly kept quiet about any number of issues that I didn't think were right. But even though we should pick our battles carefully, at times we also need to take stands that aren't necessarily popular.
By way of historical perspective, here's a list of other things that probably would have polled well in history:
*the crucifixion of Jesus;
*pogroms and persecutions of Jews;
*bear baiting and cat burning;
In today's political climate (in more than one place), scapegoating defenseless groups polls well in some circles--and not just in the US.
Not to be too misanthropic or anything, but I think Nietzsche might have been onto something when he wrote that
“Man is the cruelest animal. At tragedies, bullfights, and crucifixions he has so far felt best on earth; and when he invented hell for himself, behold, that was his very heaven.”And I think Camus was on track when he said this:
"We all carry within us our places of exile, our crimes and our ravages. But our task is not to unleash them on the world; it is to fight them in ourselves and in others.”