CNN’s Fareed Zakaria pointed out over the weekend that unchecked immigration is fueling the global populist movement, and Democrats in the United States are on the wrong side of the issue.
“The central issue feeding populism around the globe is immigration,” Zakaria said on his Sunday Fareed Zakaria GPS show on CNN. “That’s why you still see right-wing populism in such countries as Germany, Holland and Sweden where economic growth is strong, manufacturing is still vibrant and inequality has not risen dramatically.”
He reminded his audience that President Donald Trump, without much of a campaign infrastructure, defeated 16 other GOP candidates in the primaries because he “outflanked them all” on immigration.
Zakaria said though working-class voters may side with Democrats on economic issues, they disagree with the party’s leftward lurch on immigration.
“And yet, the party is now more extreme on this topic than it has ever been,” he said. “Positions that dozens of Democratic senators took on immigration ten years ago are now totally rejected by almost every Democratic Party leader.”
Zakaria added that most Democrats would have agreed a decade ago that “America’s current mix of immigration skews too heavily towards family unifications and needs to attract more immigrants with skills. Now, none will speak on the issue.”
“The party today embraces sanctuary cities, suggesting that local authorities should ignore federal laws or even defy federal authorities who try to enforce the law of the land,” he continued. “Imagine, if Republican mayors did the same with regard to laws they don’t like, on, say, guns or abortion.”
After accusing Trump of talking about immigration in ways that “seem racist,” Zakaria nonetheless conceded that “the scale and speed of immigration over the last few decades is a real issue.”
“Just since 1990, the share of foreign-born people in America has gone from 9 percent to 15 percent. It’s nearly doubled in Germany and the Netherlands. It’s nearly tripled in Denmark,” he said. “Most of the new immigrants do come from cultures that are more distant and different. And societies can only take so much change in a generation.”
A CNN poll conduced before Senate Democrats caved on Monday found that only 34 percent of Americans favored shutting down the government to fight for DACA recipients while 56 percent were in favor of avoiding a shutdown.
Zakaria, who has also criticized Democrats for mishandling immigration like they botched the abortion issue two decades ago, has also said that former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon “was surely right in recognizing the populist fury that runs through a large swath of the country,” especially when it came to immigration. Zakaria added that in the early days of the Trump administration, Bannon must have watched in horror and incredulity “as the candidate who campaigned as a fiery outsider against the Republican establishment essentially handed over the reins of his government to” the GOP congressional establishment and former Wall Street executives and family members who were Democrats and globalists and did not have a clue about what got Trump elected.