Noun – a light sandal, typically of plastic or rubber, with a thong between the big and second toe.
Verb – make an abrupt reversal of policy.
On Sunday, Bernie Sanders held a town hall meeting in Iowa.
According to Politico, “During a town hall in Oskaloosa, Iowa, Sanders was asked by an attendee about how the United States can afford to fund social services such as health care, with an open borders policy.”
For anyone familiar with Bernie’s views on immigration, it should not be surprising how he answered, though it does call into question his previous ambiguity.
Here is the exchange as described by Politico:
The attendee also claimed the Vermont senator is “an advocate for open borders.”
“I’m afraid you may be getting your information wrong. That’s not my view,” Sanders said.
“What we need is comprehensive immigration reform,” he continued. “If you open the borders, my God, there’s a lot of poverty in this world, and you’re going to have people from all over the world. And I don’t think that’s something that we can do at this point. Can’t do it. So that is not my position.”
As I mentioned, that is not a new position for the Bern.
Back in 2015, he did this interview with Vox’s Ezra Klein, where he called open borders a “Koch brothers proposal.”
It appears that Bernie is going back to this talking point. It is said that during 2016, the democratic mothership called Bernie away from his previous stances on immigration. The fact that he supports amnesty is contradictory and frankly too risky to ever think about him being serious on immigration, but we can always wonder if this position is sincere or a result of having to pander to democratic voters.
We can argue about whether the democrats advocate open borders or not. There is a clear distinction between the de facto open borders policies of the left and the closed borders policies of Trump or Bernie (depending on whether you believe his commentary).
While some libertarians devolve into absurdities associated with sovereign citizens, the rest of us know that immigration cannot be unfettered. There must be restrictions, regulations, and a process. If Bernie is trying to get the left back to some semblance of order on the topic, that is better for the nation.
It is probably the easiest path forward.
A month ago, Newsweek ran a story on Ann Coulter’s assessment of this easiest path forward. “Conservative political commentator and author Ann Coulter on Tuesday said that Democrats would “slaughter” President Donald Trump in the 2020 election if they revived what she said were Bernie Sanders’s “long forgotten” positions on immigration and workforce issues.”
Here is the tweet:
Yet 2020 might involve an independent candidate who is not controlled by the democratic mothership.
Cue Howard Schultz
Also over the weekend, Former Starbucks CEO and independent running for president in 2020, Howard Schultz, took up a comparatively tough stance on immigration.
He says, “Now, the issue that we have to recognize is this. President Trump is correct, and the Republican leadership is correct that we need fierce, strict levels of control on that border to keep bad people from coming in. Illegal immigrants should not come in. I don’t want to get into a wall or anything, but I agree we should fund whatever we need to do to secure the border. I get that.”
Schultz has managed to take a far more reasonable stance on immigration than any of the democrats have.
And as these policy ideas work themselves out over the next year, we have to wonder what Americans are willing to compromise on. Will the American people take a chance again on someone who may be lying about their immigration policies? Will the American people be willing to accept this dynamic between enforcement and humanitarian concerns raised by Schultz? Can Bernie reasonably claim to care about American workers and their wages if he also supports amnesty? What is an open borders policy if not amnesty? Will Americans see how the right has failed to secure the border?
If Trump has any interest in winning the 2020 election, he cannot let Bernie or Schultz get to the right of him on immigration. Trump may talk a good game, but the implementation of policy hasn’t really gone past what Obama was already doing.
Trump may want a wall, (or fence, sorry), but unless he moves past simply replacing existing fence, voters will flock to someone else who offers some hope for curtailing immigration.
Except this time, the price for failing to secure the border will be much higher.