Saturday, January 26, 2019

Democrats and Immigration

OK folks, Trump's shutdown on the wall didn't work. But no one should take this to mean Democrats have "won" on immigration and there's not a lot of work still to be done. The fact of the matter is that Democrats are still clueless on how to talk to voters with ambivalent feelings about immigration, particularly those from the working class. If Democrats really want to beat Trump in 2020 and beat him and what he represents decisively, they absolutely need to confront this deficiency and develop a clear, salable position on immigration.
There is no better place to start than with Andy Levison's new essay for The Democratic Strategist, "Democrats need to understand how to talk to working class voters about immigration–and not just dismiss them as racists." I strongly urge you to read the whole thing. Here's the gist, as summarized on the TDS website.
"Donald Trump’s blatant and vicious appeal to pure prejudice regarding immigrants and immigration has led many progressives and Democrats to respond in an equally categorical way, describing all objections to immigration as simply a smokescreen for racism.
Since opinion polls have consistently shown that most Americans are not bitterly anti-immigrant and do not support draconian measures like mass deportation, this reaction does not immediately seem to present a major problem for Democrats in 2020.
But, in fact, it does. While most Americans do not share Trump’s visceral loathing of Latin Americans and actually support a range of positive measures such as providing a path to citizenship for long time, law-abiding undocumented immigrants, a very substantial group also supports the demand that America regain control of the southern border and prevent further “illegal” immigration.
Simply dismissing all these voters as racists who do not deserve any response other than condemnation is a profound mistake–one that will endanger Democratic hopes of winning the presidency in 2020 and almost certainly place the Senate entirely out of reach. Democrats need to provide a reasonable response to the concerns that do exist, particularly among working class Americans."
Read it, read it, read it.

1 comment:

  1. No need to waste your time reading Andy Levison's essay.

    There has always been a two-step simple plan for immigration that Democrats and Republicans can follow to resolve the immigration problem.

    1. Businesses hire undocumented workers because they can play them less than minimum wage with no benefits and when they cut their hands off in the factory, they can ship them back to Mexico without workers compensation payments. We instead should enforce and toughen our immigration policies such that CEOs must certify on their company's tax returns each year that they did not hire a single undocumented worker in the prior tax year. If the government actually attempted to confirm the truth of these certifications rather than looking the other way and sent the CEOs to prison for long sentences for violations, I can assure you the illegal immigration problem would end.

    2. The working class resents that they have to compete against immigrants for jobs and see their wages depressed as a result, but the educated professionals do not. Implementing a Canada style points system which encourages the best and the brightest to come to America for jobs rather than low skill immigrants would be good for the economy and help with working class morale because they would know the elites are also competing for jobs with immigrants rather than just the working class.

    Of course, these two reasonable approaches go against the interests of the business community and the elites so they will never be implemented and the immigration problems and resentment of the working class will continue.