CNN host Fareed Zakaria might get under the skin of die-hard Trump voters for his less than flattering commentary, but he has been spot on targeting identity politics and the Democratic Party’s intransient views on immigration. In July, Zakaria spoke about the party’s hard left turn thanks to the rising dominance of the urban professional elite, while also noting the de-emphasis on national unity and the common threads that binds us in exchange for a dogmatic adherence to toxic identity politics. Zakaria also said that white working class voters, who aren’t as educated as the urban elite, still have a stake in this country’s future, that their opinions matter, and that they should be acknowledged and respected. They’re facing economic issues that are relatable to any American who has hit hard times, though liberal America often views these people with disgust.
Now, Zakaria turns his sights on the Left’s views on immigration, which is at the heart of the identity politics that’s infesting the country. His August 3 column noted the late Pennsylvania Gov. Bob Casey, a pro-life Democrat, who wanted to add a pro-life plank to his party’s platform. The national party wouldn’t even allow his remarks to be aired on television. Zakaria plugs the upcoming book “The Once and Future Liberal” by Mark Lilla, who said that this move sent a message to pro-life Democrats: if you’re not pro-abortion, get the hell out. Lilla is pro-abortion as well, but knows that lopping off 30 percent of the party that describes itself as pro-life is not conducive to coalition building:
In Lilla’s view, there is a larger crisis within American liberalism. When he visited the online home page of the Republican National Committee, he found a statement of broad principles that guide the party, starting with the Constitution and ending with immigration. On the Democrats’ website, by contrast, he noticed a set of links to “People,” and when he clicked on them he got to pages specifically designed to appeal to one group or another — women, Hispanics, Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans. Alluding to Lebanon’s system of power-sharing among religious and ethnic groups, Lilla writes, “You might think that, by some mistake, you have landed on the website of the Lebanese government — not that of a party with a vision for America’s future.” (The Democratic National Committee’s home page now features the party’s platform more prominently.)
Immigration is the perfect issue on which Democrats could demonstrate that they care about national unity and identity — and that they understand the voters for whom this is a core concern. Look at the Democracy Fund’s voter study done in the wake of the 2016 election. If you compare two groups of voters — those who voted for Barack Obama in 2012 and Hillary Clinton in 2016, and those who voted for Obama in 2012 and Donald Trump in 2016 — the single biggest divergence on policy is immigration. In other words, there are many Americans who are otherwise sympathetic to Democratic ideas but on a few key issues — principally immigration — think the party is out of touch.
And they are right.
Democrats should find a middle path on immigration. They can battle President Trump’s drastic solutions but still speak in the language of national unity and identity. The country’s motto, after all, is “out of many, one” — not the other way around.
Zakaria reiterated these points on his CNN show, GPS, on Sunday.