“I saw a vacuum,” Kaus recalled. “I would’ve have had to take whoever was on my side; they could’ve been horrible racists.” He associated himself with Roy Beck, who runs Numbers USA, and Mark Krikorian, of the Center for Immigration Studies and “a very civilized, wonderful man. None of them are racist. So they were convenient to work with.” (Both groups have roots tied to the activist John Tanton, whose racist views have become an embarrassment to each; their current advocacy is, however, mostly on economic issues.) And their movement, whose ties are largely to conservative Republicans in the House, was glad to have a well-known Democratic intellectual on their side.
“There’s nobody on the left articulating their interests as Democrats — we need a lot more people like that, but for now Mickey’s one of the few,” Kirkorian said.
Kaus tells a complicated story, set in 2009 in the office of his dermatologist, about when he came to believe that there was a real opening in Democratic Party politics for an anti-immigration campaign. “I’ve been a good liberal all my life, but I don’t agree with the party on immigration,” the dermatologist told him.
“He lit the spark,” Kaus told Los Angeles Weekly the next year.