President Donald Trump will not be the only person sending a message on his priorities Tuesday night. Democrats will too, though historic parts of their base are in for a disappointment.
Anyone who hoped that the party would move off of its rainbow-of-identities, victim’s coalitions and refocus on working-class jobs, marginalized poor white voters, and America’s suffering industrial Rust Belt — places Trump won — aren’t going to see many signs for optimism in the Democrats’ stands during Trump’s first speech to Congress.
See, when the president gives his annual congressional speech, members of both parties are allowed to bring a guest. While most bring a friend, constituent or family member, others opt to send a message, bringing someone who represents their political goals in a human light, garnering camera time from sympathetic media.
Trump, who gets a few extra guests, is hosting the widows of Justice Antonin Scalia and police officers killed in action, along with Americans hurt by illegal immigrants or helped by tax credits, modern medicine and entrepreneurial spirit. His guests give a hint to what his focus has been and will be: The Supreme Court, law and order, criminal illegal aliens, tax reform, unleashing the U.S. economy. (This Man, ‘The Voice Of The Silent Majority’ For A Half Century, Has Lived Conservative History Like None Other)
The Democrats have a clear focus, too, but it isn’t jobs, poor whites or the Rust Belt– it’s illegal immigrants from Central and South America, joined by hyper-minorities and citizens of distant countries targeted by Trump’s temporary travel ban. (‘This Is What Community Looks Like’: The Left’s New Movement To Save Itself Might Be Its Undoing)
Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky is bringing Suzanne Akhras Sahloul, who heads a network that supports Syrian refugees in Chicago, an American city toying with bankruptcy and overrun with gangland murder. Illinois Rep. Bill Foster is showing off Samia Abdul-Qadir, an American Muslim girl who spoke against the temporary travel-ban at one of his events at an local Islamic center. California Rep. Judy Chu is hosting Sara Yarjani, an Iranian graduate student with Austrian residency. Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal is hosting Aneelah Afzali, an activist from Afghanistan who heads the Muslim Empowerment Network. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley of New York City invited Sarker Haque, a Muslim man from Bangladesh who was punched in a hate crime while Barack Obama was president. Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez’s guest is Fidaa Elaydi, a lawyer for Middle Eastern clients. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, also of Illinois, is hosting a “Dreamer” and medical student born in Pakistan. (RELATED: Chicago Homicide Rate Is Even Higher Than Everyone Thought)
Reps. Mike Quigley of Illinois, Jerry Nadler of New York, Jared Polis of Colorado and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin are also bringing “dreamers,” a Democratic term for children illegally brought to the United States by their parents, and who Trump has said he will not deport. Reps. Raul Grijalva and Ruben Gallego of Arizona are bringing the children of an illegal immigrant deported to Mexico over faking a Social Security card– a federal offense.
Rep. Jim Langevin, who has taken credit for organizing his colleagues’ efforts to focus their efforts on the above groups, is bringing Dr. Ehsun Mirza, who is from Pakistan. “It’s my hope that gallery is going to look like America,” Langevin told reporters. In reality, his state, Rhode Island, looks 5.7 percent black, 12.4 percent Latino and 81.4 percent white. Indeed, less than 1 percent of Rhode Island’s residents are Muslim— a statistic that doesn’t reflect so poorly on the Island State as first appears, since the entire United States is also less than 1 percent Muslim.
While some Democrats have invited foreign-born guests who risked their lives for American soldiers while working as translators in battles abroad, for much of the Democratic Party, the message Tuesday night is clear enough: The priority is serving the interests of illegal immigrants, hyper-minorities and the citizens of other countries. Now, that isn’t to say they don’t care about their other Americans — the vast majority of Americans — but rather, they simply aren’t the priority.
They won’t get the seat in Congress next to the politician they elected. Nor the floor speech or presser for the cameras. Nor the vote when their interests are on the line.
Let’s see if they give these politicians their support next time they need it.