Mickey Kaus notes the dire importance of immigration as an election issue. According to a new poll, a hypothetical candidate promising “to build a barrier along the Mexican border and make enforcement of immigration law his top priority” . . .

. . . beats the generic “Republican” nominee by 9 points– 30 to 21–and runs practically even with the generic “Democratic” nominee (who gets 31%). The border-centric third-party candidacy actually takes more votes from the Democratic side than the Republican side!. But it draws heavily from both parties, and as heavily from “moderates” as from “conservatives.”

While I tend to be a bit dark in my outlook, once the dust settles I see the primary beneficiary as being someone Michelle Malkin (way back in 2004) called “Hillary Rodham Buchanan“:

I myself would never vote for Hillary. But the Republican establishment takes for granted at its peril the significant number of party faithful who may be sorely tempted to do so if the Bush betrayal at the border continues.
Hillary Rodham Buchanan? Don’t laugh. She could be the GOP’s worst nightmare in ’08.

That she will be, especially if she can present herself as a commonsense centrist with a solid plan to close the border (something a huge majority supports).
I know it sounds counterintuitive, but I think the Republican calls for ever more draconian legislation might help her. The more to the right the GOP’s hardline drifts, the less likely the possibility of any change in the status quo, and the more the “center” is shifted to the right. When the center shifts right, Hillary shifts right. And Hillary on the right places Republicans on the far right. (Except, of course, the lamer and lamer ducks, who won’t be worth shooting.)
What would really ensure a Democratic victory in ’08 would be the emergence of a hard right third party candidate. He’d never win, but Hillary would.
Thus, I think a Hillary Buchanan strategy (slightly altered from Michelle’s original version) is beautiful.
(Now, how to get Soros to toss $20 million in the right direction . . .)
MORE: But what about the huge upcoming demos, and the backlash factor?

“It’s intimidation when a million people march down main streets in our major cities under the Mexican flag,” said Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman volunteer border patrol group. “This will backfire,” he said.
Some Latinos have also expressed concerns that the boycott and marches could stir up anti-immigrant sentiment.
Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Los Angeles archdiocese, an outspoken champion of immigrant rights, has lobbied against a walkout. “Go to work, go to school, and then join thousands of us at a major rally afterward,” Mahony said.
And Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has long fought for immigrant rights, has said he expects protesters to be “lawful and respectful” and children to stay in school.
In Washington on Thursday, immigrant-rights activists brushed off talk of a backlash.
“This is going to be really big. We’re going to have millions of people,” said Juan Jose Gutierrez, director of the Latino Movement USA. “We are not concerned at all. We believe it’s possible for Congress to get the message that the time to act is now.”

It’s not so much the backlash next week that matters, but the perception — the resonance — of the backlash in the Fall.
How the backlash is managed and spun will be of utmost importance.
(Right now, I’m wondering whether the plan is to get the right wing to go absolutely ape. Who benefits the most from a civil war in the Republican Party?)
MORE: Buchanan2008.com is coming soon. Buchanan08.com is for sale.
UPDATE: My thanks to Pajamas Media for the link!