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MATTHEW BOOSE: The Democrats’ silence on the caravan is telling
After spending several months calling to abolish the border in everything but name, the Democrats are studiously silent on the latest immigration crisis.
Back in June, they were comparing the Trump administration to the Nazi regime over illegal immigrant families being separated. The rhetoric was breathless and the opposition unrelenting, with party leaders calling to abolish ICE and Trump administration officials being chased out of restaurants with the official sanction of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).
Now, as a “caravan” of Central American migrants marches to the southern border and Trump threatens to send in the military: nothing.
Rather than address the images of migrants tearing down fences and choking up bridges, the Democrats are accusing Trump of trying to divert the conversation from their preferred topic: healthcare.
“The president is desperate to change the subject from health care to immigration because he knows that health care is the number one issue Americans care about,” Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi said in a join statement. “Democrats are focused like a laser on health care and will not be diverted.”
Oh, Trump is desperate to change the topic? Because the caravan is just a side-show, right? This is pure projection.
To borrow a cliche from the left, their “silence is deafening.”
If speech is violence, and silence is complicity, then they must be okay with the caravan, but unwilling to admit it.
Why? Given the direction the left is moving on immigration, one would expect a forceful response in the caravan’s defense. After all, the migrants are refugees seeking a better life — at least that’s how they’ve been described in the media. What happened to “refugees welcome”?
While a stark change from the usual outrage, their silence is in line with what they have been saying for the past several months. There is a clear, growing consensus on the left that any kind of immigration enforcement is wrong. Borders and deportation are evil by default.
They’re staying quiet because their real position is open borders, but they can’t be too open about it. This is how they approach immigration: push for open borders, but keep things intentionally vague to maintain some plausible deniability.
This time around, though, vagueness won’t suffice. There’s no plausible deniability.
A “caravan” of thousands brazenly defying the law makes for a real “put up or shut up” moment. If there was ever an immigration litmus test, this is it. If the Democrats won’t oppose this caravan, how can they deny supporting open borders?
Rather than take the test, they’ve elected to sit this one out. And why wouldn’t they? Their position is unpopular, they know it, and the election is just days away.
Through the family separations crisis, the circumstances allowed the Democrats to take the moral high ground and at least appear to make it about the individual families rather than their push against border enforcement.
This time, Trump and the Republicans have the moral high ground. There’s something altogether different about an army of foreign laborers demanding entry into a sovereign country. It might outrage Republicans the most, but it doesn’t sit well with moderates, either.
The Democrats know this, and they are staying silent to hide their actual position. They’re getting plenty of help from the media, which is doing everything possible to ignore the issue and accuse Trump of (scare quotes) fear-mongering.
The timing doesn’t help them. Back in June, there were still months to go before the election and the separations looked bad for Trump and the GOP, so Democrats capitalized on it.
Now, things look different. The midterms are only days away, and the Democrats have just come out of a slug-fest over Brett Kavanaugh in which they threw away every scruple and pretense of decency.
It’s not smart for them to defend what they really believe right now. So instead, the Democrats have adopted a calculated strategy of silence.
They’re banking on immigration to help them win future elections, but they’re only open about it when it’s politically safe to let the mask drop.
Whether they realize it or not, their silence is just as telling as their outrage.
Trump hasn’t done himself any favors by alleging Democratic conspiracies about the caravan. Why would they fund it? The scale of the caravan is minuscule compared to the hundreds of thousands coming each year. If anything, the caravan hurts the Democrats by associating those abstract statistics with visceral images of invasion.
There is no need to allege some elaborate George Soros-funded cabal. Even if the Democrats didn’t organize this “caravan,” they have encouraged illegal immigration with their actions and their words.
Trump doesn’t need to make up any crazy theories. All he needs to do is point out what is obvious enough: this caravan is what the Democrats’ worldview actually entails. They’re just too afraid to admit it.
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