Yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) spoke about negotiating with President Trump to fund the border wall:
Let’s hope the final figure ends up being closer to the $5 billion Trump wants, but overall it’s going to be like pulling teeth to get this wall funded given that we just lost the House. President Trump really needs to find a way to get through to these Democrats on the matter.
I’m no expert on negotiation, but I do know one thing about people: they will generally only work with you and cut a deal with you if it is in their best interest to do so.
This has been the defining problem for the immigration/border wall debate these past two years. President Trump needs Democrat support if we are ever going to get the border wall funded and built, given the fact that we lost the House and only have 53 of the required 60 votes in the Senate. The problem is that Democrats want more immigration–legal and illegal–because it works to their benefit. They get more votes and more cheap nannying/housekeeping.
On its face, it might seem completely impossible to get any Democrat support for the wall. But perhaps it’s not all that far-fetched.
See, white Democrats have for the past two decades been under the assumption that the “browning of America” will work only to their benefit. Their reasoning is that Hispanics vote overwhelmingly Democrat, and since the Hispanic share of the US population is increasing with each passing year, it will only continue to benefit them.
But then something happened this past summer, and I don’t think we really understand its full significance yet. I’m talking about when Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez defeated incumbent Democrat Rep. Joe Crowley in the primary. At the old Medium site, I wrote that it was a glimpse into the future of American politics in that the district went from majority white to majority nonwhite, and this demographic shift, rather than political “issues”, was the reason Crowley lost to Ocasio-Cortez.
Simply put, the majority-Hispanic district realized it didn’t have to keep voting for the old white guy anymore. They had the numbers to replace him with “one of their own”. And those aren’t my words, they’re Ocasio-Cortez’s words. Her campaign slogan was, “It’s time for one of us.” She’ll claim it means a “real person” from the neighborhood rather than an out of touch career politician, but what she really meant was a fellow Hispanic rather than some old white guy. Just look at her campaign poster:
You can see it right here at the bottom: “One of us/Una de las Nuestras.”
Joe Crowley even complained that Ocasio-Cortez was making the election about race:
Crowley realized what was happening. His exasperation showed when he was reported to have said, at a private event, “I can’t help that I was born white.”
If you believe, as I and many others do, that democracy in a diverse society devolves into little more than a racial headcount, then what happened to Joe Crowley in the Bronx was not only unsurprising, but a sign of things to come.
This is the key to getting Democrat support for the wall.
The answer is to target white Democrats in majority-minority districts and appeal to their self-interest.
Point to Joe Crowley as Exhibit A that if we don’t get immigration under control, then white Democrats will be run out of power.
White Democrats believe that no matter how “brown” America gets, the “New Americans” will still keep voting for white Democrats. White Democrats, like the racists they are, believe they are entitled to nonwhite support (white Democrats have a serious Savior Complex generally) and will remain at the top of the pyramid indefinitely. They envision a party of nonwhite voters, but with white politicians (i.e. themselves):
Ocasio-Cortez has just shown us that is not going to be the case. The future will not resemble the pyramid model they envision. More majority-minority districts–and states–will come be represented not by white Democrats but by nonwhite Democrats.
Trump should say quite clearly to white Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi: “If we don’t get immigration under control, then what happened to Joe Crowley is going to happen to you, eventually.”
I really think they’ll listen to that.
Maybe more old white Dems need to go the way of Joe Crowley for them to really grasp what’s going on, but eventually they’ll understand.
At that point I think you’ll see white Democrats come around to the border wall and become more hawkish on immigration. They’ll realize it is in their self-interest.