One of the craziest things about our exceedingly crazy politics right now is that Trump shows every intention of running in 2020 on a platform of “Democrats want open borders.”
And Democrats show every intention of running on a platform of “Yeah.”
The most high-profile progressive challenger in this year’s Democratic primaries:
If you think this was a slip of a tongue, a Kinsley gaffe in which she inadvertently “said the quiet part loud,” note that she’s doubled down on Twitter:
— Cynthia Nixon (@CynthiaNixon) June 22, 2018
Yesterday she told “The View” that ICE should be abolished. Can’t blame all Democrats for the view of one fringy hyper-left progressive eager to make headlines in a gubernatorial primary, right? Well, it’s not just Nixon. MSNBC notes that leftist insurgents have a fever and the only prescription is abolishing ICE:
Florida Democrat Matt Haggman just a launched a TV ad entirely focused on his desire to “close ICE down.” He goes on use that position to contrast himself with Donna Shalala, the Bill Clinton Cabinet official who is currently the front-running Democrat in the heavily Hispanic district.
Also on board is Randy Bryce, the mustachioed ironworker who is running with the official blessing of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Wisconsin district.
Deb Halaand, who would be the first Native American woman in Congress, won a primary in a safe Democratic district in New Mexico this month on a platform that included the policy.
Overall, 15 Democratic congressional candidates are currently running on de-funding or abolishing ICE, according to Sean McElwee, a New York-based activist who has helped lead the charge.
Philip Klein made me laugh by tweeting, “A year from now ‘Do you think ICE is a terrorist organization that needs to be abolished?’ is gonna be one of the ‘raise your hand’ questions at [a] Dem presidential primary debate.” That’s probably an exaggeration, but as the gay-marriage and weed-legalization sagas have showed us, Democratic orthodoxy can move at warp speed nowadays in recharacterizing a policy from “extreme” to “creditable” to “correct” to “only conceivable moral option.”
Even so, I remind you that when offered a variety of options on how to handle illegals in YouGov’s recent poll, 44 percent favored family detention with another 20 percent favoring Trump’s child separation policy. A near super-majority supported “zero tolerance” of some variety, in other words. The country will tolerate amnesty for illegals who are already here, particularly DREAMers, but evidence that most Americans are anywhere near Democrats on open-borders radicalism is scant. That’s why it’s mainly insurgent left-wing candidates who are talking about it. (Publicly.) They’re worried about winning primaries, not general elections. “Abolish ICE” is a gimmick to signal ideological purity, not unlike right-wing candidates vowing never to vote for amnesty of any kind. It’s just that one position undermines American national sovereignty and the other doesn’t.
And while it’s mostly longshot no-name lefties who are pushing this message, it’s not exclusive to them. Right, Keith Ellison?
Liberals: No one is calling for open borders
The next Attorney General of Minnesota: pic.twitter.com/Cs1eM2xM7R
— Brett "Unions 2021" Banditelli (@banditelli) June 21, 2018
The interesting thing about Democrats staggering leftward towards open borders is that it coincides with them staggering leftward towards old-school Bernie-style class war. Those two positions don’t co-exist easily, as Sanders’s own tortured relationship with immigration reform demonstrates. If you’re running on better wages and a higher quality of life for the American working class, importing a huge supply of illegal labor isn’t an obvious plank for your platform. But this is what the modern Democratic coalition, which depends heavily on dominating the Latino vote, requires. It’s also what modern left-wing ideology requires. Trying to restrict the flow of mostly Latino immigrants across the border is necessarily racist, which is why even Bernie had to pipe down about labor and play ball:
Democrats aren’t just responding to Trump. They are also facing increasing pressure from their left flank to abandon even a nominal commitment to immigration enforcement except in cases where such violations can be used like tax evasion against Al Capone — an excuse to lock up people who are guilty of other, more serious crimes.
Bernie Sanders, a democratic socialist, essentially was pummeled into submission for failing to support open borders in an interview with Vox. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), thought of as a potential future speaker of the House, is facing a progressive primary challenger who talks like this: “ICE is operating exactly as designed when it rips screaming children from parents. That’s exactly why we must abolish it.”
As The Atlantic’s Peter Beinart observed last year, a decade ago even liberals who supported an expansive immigration policy, including legal status for the bulk of the undocumented population, freely acknowledged the costs imposed by large-scale low-wage immigration, the challenges of assimilation in an era of reduced upward mobility, and the cultural tensions that can result.
Pelosi and Schumer have managed to sideline much of the new lefty radicalism on immigration at the national level, which is why Dems may benefit from their contrast with Trump on the issue this fall. By 2020, though? We’ll see. As their base tries to carry them left, Trump may find himself closer to the average voter’s view of immigration than the Democratic nominee. (He’s already endorsed amnesty for DREAMers, remember.) Avoid making any new sudden moves like child separation, pound the table about Democrats increasingly supporting open borders, and let the chips fall where they may.
In lieu of an exit quotation, here’s Donny Deutsch encouraging Democrats to reach out to Trump voters by assuring them that they’re acting like Nazis by supporting Trump on immigration. The fact that he said this on “Morning Joe,” which arguably did more to mainstream Trump in 2015 than any other talking-head show, is *kisses fingers*.