Democrats need to compromise on migration politics or they will end up in a much weaker position in 2020, says Andrew Sullivan, who is a prominent center-left intellectual with a column in New York magazine.
Democrats “give off the appearance, as Hillary Clinton did, of making no distinction between legal and illegal immigration, favoring de facto open borders, and calling anyone who disagrees with them a white supremacist,” he wrote, adding:
Until they recognize that illegal immigration is a huge and legitimate problem, and until they propose a set of actual policy proposals to end it humanely and efficiently, they run the risk of another 2016 in 2020 … Which means to say: Don’t give [Republicans] this issue. Do the work to defuse it. And do it sooner rather than later.
Sullivan has a legitimate claim to having launched the single-sex marriage movement. But his mix of bourgeois libertarianism is out of place in 2018 as his elite social peers outdo each other in their progressive hatred of the low-class outsider who has moved inside President Obama’s White House.
The Democrats need to accept that they lost the last presidential election for a reason, and that their opponent’s main campaign pledge was to tackle illegal immigration, with a wall at the southern border as the centerpiece. Completely resisting a legitimate agenda based on a clear campaign promise — well, it reminds me of the Republicans with Obamacare.
And there is clearly an adamant, persistent segment of the public that sees the crisis of illegal immigration as a vital one. They’re not alone. Cast an eye at Brexit Britain, newly populist Italy, Macron’s France, and even Merkel’s Germany as it heaves in response to mass immigration from the developing world. This is a huge force in Western politics in every country. It may be the primary one. Millions of people are on the move right now, fleeing war and poverty and persecution. The vast migration from south to north, from poverty and chaos to opportunity and order in the West may be just beginning. Climate change will surely only make it worse. Finding the right balance between reason and compassion is essential if we are not going to further tear this country apart, or witness ever more humanitarian catastrophes, or see what’s left of the West go under.
So give him his fucking wall. He won the election. He is owed this. It may never be completed; it may not work, as hoped. But it is now the only way to reassure a critical mass of Americans that mass immigration is under control, and the only way to make any progress under this president. And until the white working and middle classes are reassured, we will get nowhere. Don’t give it to him for nothing, of course. It should come with a full path to citizenship for all DACA immigrants, as in the proposed deal in January that Trump first liked and then reneged on, under Miller’s toxic influence. But it should also go bigger: a legislative fix for Flores; massive new funding for detention facilities, humane family-friendly housing, and, above all, much more money for the immigration legal system, now completely overwhelmed by asylum cases. If Democrats can show they want to deal with the humanitarian problem as a whole, and are willing to compromise on the wall, they’ll be in a much stronger position going forward than in the recent past.
Read the whole thing here.
Bonus, here’s a left-wing rebuttal of Sullivan’s strategy:
I don’t think giving Trump a wall in exchange for a vastly expanded but more humane set of detention camps is going to have the positive impact that Sullivan says it will. It’s not going to defuse the issue, and in some tangible ways it will actually bolster and entrench a system of mass incarceration. It won’t save money, as far as I can tell, especially with the wasted cash on a boondoggle barrier. It won’t do a thing to address the root causes driving people to seek asylum in our country or to risk illegal entry. And it’s not going to change how Trump and his minions treat the issue or how they saturate our airwaves with hate and campaign against the Democrats.