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.

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