The former communications director for the Obama administration Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said that President Donald Trump has effectively limited Democrats’ range of potential policy stances on immigration.
Kenneth Baer, a Democratic strategist and long time political speechwriter, explained that the Trump campaign’s emphasis on immigration enforcement established a dynamic in which Democrats, in their attempt to counter Trump, are expected to advocate for open borders.
“If the debate is set up so that Republicans are the only ones who want some sort of order or limitations on immigration and Democrats want zero, we will lose that debate every single day,” Baer recently told The New York Times. “We need to say that immigration makes the country strong and is at the core of who we are, and this is how we do it: with order, laws and compassion. Unfortunately, Trump is boxing us into being the open borders party, which is not where most of the country is.”
Baer’s observation has been reflected in the Virginia gubernatorial contest. Democratic candidate Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam’s Wednesday admission that he would sign a bill, similar to the one he opposed in 2016, that would ban sanctuary cities from the commonwealth caused a progressive splintering within the party almost immediately.
Following Northam’s centrist concession on immigration enforcement, Progressive PAC, Democrats for America, announced they would no longer include the Northam campaign in the grassroots calling campaign they were previously executing for the entire Democratic ticket.
“Ralph Northam’s gutless, politically senseless, and morally debased decision yesterday to openly backtrack on his commitment to standing up for immigrant families is a picture-perfect example of why Democracy for America never endorsed him in the primary and focused the entirety of our efforts in Virginia on down-ticket races, like Justin Fairfax’s campaign for Lieutenant Governor,” DFA Executive Director Charles Chamberlain said in a statement.
Founder of the “resistance” group Indivisible responded to Northam’s statement by telling the former Army doctor to “find your spine.”
Northam’s opponent, Republican Ed Gillespie, has successfully pressed the issue of illegal immigration to the forefront, running numerous attack ads linking Northam’s legislative record on immigration to the growing MS-13 population in Virginia.
Northam remained vague in his opposition to sanctuary cities throughout the race prior to his Wednesday admission that he would sign a bill preventing municipalities from defying federal authorities. He has accused Gillespie of focusing on sanctuary cities in a cynical political ploy, citing the fact that there are currently no sanctuary cities in Virginia.
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