Andrew Sullivan: The Issue That Could Lose the Next Election for Democrats

Andrew Sullivan: The Issue That Could Lose the Next Election for Democrats, by Andrew Sullivan.

The most potent issue behind the rise of the far right in America and Europe is mass immigration.

It’s a core reason that Trump is now president; it’s why the AfD is now the third-biggest party in the German, yes, German, parliament; it’s why Austria’s new chancellor won by co-opting much of the far right’s agenda on immigration; it’s why Britain is attempting (and currently failing) to leave the EU; it’s why Marine Le Pen won a record number of votes for her party in France this spring.

A critical moment, in retrospect, came with Angela Merkel’s 2015 decision to import over a million Syrian refugees into the heart of Europe. .. There are now new borders and fences going up all over Europe, as a response to Merkel’s blithe misjudgment.

You would think that parties of the center-left would grapple with this existential threat to their political viability. And some have. One reason Britain’s Labour Party has done well in the last couple of years is that it has recognized the legitimacy of the issue. During the Brexit referendum, their leader, Jeremy Corbyn, expressed ambivalence toward remaining in the EU, careful not to lose his working-class base to the Europhobic right, recognizing the fears so many of his own supporters had about the impact of mass immigration on their lives, jobs, and culture. Even someone as leftist as Corbyn chose to be a pragmatist, trying to gain power, rather than a purist who might otherwise condemn his own voters as deplorable. …

There’s a nuanced, smart — and shockingly honest — piece in Vox by Dara Lind about this. … Lind spells out the state of play:

Democrats in 2017, in general, tend to criticize the use of immigration enforcement, and tend to side with those accused of violating immigration law, as a broad matter of principle beyond opposing the particular actions of the administration … Democrats are no longer as willing to attack “illegal immigration” as a fundamental problem anymore.

This is, to be blunt, political suicide. The Democrats’ current position seems to be that the Dreamer parents who broke the law are near heroes, indistinguishable from the children they brought with them; and their rhetoric is very hard to distinguish, certainly for most swing voters, from a belief in open borders.

In fact, the Democrats increasingly seem to suggest that any kind of distinction between citizens and noncitizens is somehow racist.

Here’s Zack Beauchamp, a liberal friend of mine: “What if I told you that immigration restrictionism is and always has been racist?” Borders themselves are racist? Seriously?

The entire concept of a nation whose citizens solely determine its future — the core foundation for any viable democracy at all — is now deemed by many left-liberals to be a function of bigotry. This is the kind of madness that could keep them from power indefinitely.