Originally posted on July 26, 2018.
It’s hard not to notice that Democrats are sounding like foreign-policy hawks when it comes to Russia and like states’ rights activists when it comes to shielding illegal aliens from deportation.
So it’s interesting to consider, do Democrats really believe voters want U.S. international borders erased rather than fixed? Is doing away with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – the agency that tracks down human traffickers, drug smugglers, and other people who are in the country illegally – really what Democrats think is best for our country?
To mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela, President Obama traveled to Johannesburg last week. In his speech honoring Mr. Mandela, Mr. Obama’s choicest passages “sounded like gentle digs at his fellow leftists back home.” As Jason L. Riley notes in the WSJ, Mr. Obama didn’t mention the current president by name. But the controversies he did weigh in on, including immigration, sounded more like President Trump than Elizabeth Warren or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
It’s not wrong to insist that national borders matter, [that] whether you’re a citizen or not is going to matter to a government, that laws need to be followed. … newcomers should make an effort to adapt to the language and customs of their new home. Those are legitimate things, and we have to be able to engage people who do feel as if things are not orderly.
But wait, Mr. Riley point out, there’s more.
Since leaving office, Mr. Obama has become not only a stickler for border enforcement and cultural assimilation but also a critic of identity politics. To make democracy work, he told the crowd, we have to “engage with people not only who look different but who hold different views.” We should endeavor to “get inside the reality of people who are different than us,” he said. “And you can’t do this if you just out of hand disregard what your opponents have to say from the start. And you can’t do it if you insist that those who aren’t like you—because they’re white or because they’re male—that somehow there’s no way they can understand what I’m feeling, that somehow they lack standing to speak on certain matters.”
Mr. Obama can take the high road now because he’s done running for elective office, but he shares as much blame as anyone for the political rancor and racial division we see today. In a sense, Donald Trump stole Barack Obama’s playbook and reminded the left that Democrats aren’t the only ones capable of successfully playing resentment politics.
Read more here.