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Slava the Ukrainian Socialist

Mar 9, 2024

Remember the classic movie “Groundhog Day”, where the main character Phil experiences the previous day's events repeating exactly and believes it’s déjà vu? Similar to the film's plot, Americans have the election-year scenario on repeat every four years. It never changes; neither the Democrat nor Republican parties bother to care about any issue facing constituents unless they can exploit it during election season. The immigration question is one of the main topics in their political football game. In the first part of this series, we discussed how Republicans accuse Democrats of having an ‘open borders’ policy but why stopping immigration is also not the solution. Now, let’s break down some of the talking points presidential candidates and party representatives are making about immigration.

Virtue Signaling

In recent months, an interesting trend has emerged: Republican-led states like Florida and Texas have begun relocating undocumented immigrants discovered within their borders to more liberal-leaning areas such as Martha’s Vineyard, New York, and Washington D.C. Typically inhabited by liberal residents who claim to welcome and advocate for immigrants, these areas have surprisingly reacted negatively to this sudden influx. Governor Gavin Newsom of California, for instance, has called for Department of Justice investigations into the transfer of immigrants across state lines. This backlash by liberal areas against the arrival of undocumented immigrants highlights the superficiality of buzzwords like ‘sanctuary city,’ ‘diversity,’ and ‘inclusivity.’ 

Despite advocating for policies such as health coverage and housing for immigrants, politicians like Newsom display glaring hypocrisy in their reactions. This hypocrisy was on display during the COVID-19 pandemic, when Newsom was criticized for enjoying restaurant dining while most Californians faced lockdowns. Here the sentiment "Do as we say, not as we do" rings true. This encapsulates the self-defeating aspect of Democratic virtue signaling on immigration. While it's easy to pay lip service to diversity and inclusivity, Democrats do not extend their advocacy to universal healthcare and affordable housing for every American worker.  And Democrats only support open immigration policy insofar as it serves their political interests, namely to vilify Republicans. However, they are aligned with Republicans on our imperialist foreign policy and the economic coercion that displaces so many people from their countries of origin.

Of course, Republicans are guilty of virtue signaling, too. Donald Trump's rhetoric on immigration and trade is a blend of populism and protectionism that resonates strongly with his base. One of his recurrent themes is the notion that immigrants are taking jobs away from American citizens. However, Trump's extensive business ventures have frequently involved manufacturing goods abroad. While he denounces immigrants for supposedly depriving Americans of employment opportunities, he conveniently overlooks the fact that his products bear the "Made in China" label. By scapegoating immigrants, he deflects scrutiny from his own outsourcing practices to portray himself as a defender of American interests.

Identity Politics

Both parties' reliance on personal attacks reflects a failure to engage in constructive dialogue, undermining the integrity of political discourse and deflecting attention from substantive policy debates. Rather than addressing the concerns of working-class Americans, Democrats often resort to labeling them as ‘racists’ and ‘deplorables’. Most also suffer from a chronic case of ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome,’ or an intense and irrational hate towards former President Donald Trump. Rather than engaging in substantive debate about the merits of specific policies, discussions often devolved into character assassination. 

Let’s take Trump’s impeachment trials, for example, where he was accused of ‘abuse of power and obstruction of justice.’ The case relies on attacking the character of President Trump - an ad hominem argument, which serves only to defame a person as inherently untrustworthy, without providing substantive evidence. Ad hominem attacks are inherently flawed because they fail to address the truthfulness or falsehood of the person's statements. The crux of the Democrats' articles of impeachment revolved around portraying Donald Trump as either a "dictator" as stated by Rep. Jerry Nadler or a "threat to our democracy" as asserted by Rep. Adam Schiff

Trump is also known for his frequent and often controversial use of ad hominem attacks against his political opponents, critics, and adversaries. ‘Crooked Hillary’, ‘Sleepy Joe’, ‘Crazy Bernie’, and ‘Pocahontas’ - Trump's use of these and similar terms is a consistent feature of his political communication style, both during his presidency and current campaign. The former president didn’t hesitate to engage in character assassination against immigrants, either. In June of 2015, Trump referred to Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists, stating when Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. Despite facing backlash, Trump doubled down on his stance and continues to use inflammatory language when discussing immigration-related issues, portraying immigrants in a negative light. He demonizes immigrants as "alien invaders" and "illegal aliens," to further divide the working class.

Another way of practicing identity politics is to bring a new face to represent US Imperialism; a new face that’s different from the straight white man. Dressing up the same capitalist and imperialist policies with someone female, LGBT, or African American, gives the illusion of inclusive and progressive change. How many hopes were dashed when Obama proved to be the more effective evil in perpetuating the same policies, but with a ‘prettier face’? This woke-washing also lays a trap for Republicans, who when criticizing Democratic policy can more easily be condemned as sexist, racist homophobes. 

Only after the economic revolution, when workers take control of the means of production, can the immigration question finally be resolved. We should understand that neither of the two major parties nor the presidential candidates are interested in improving the lives of citizens or immigrants. Siding with one of the parties is not useful for the revolutionary movement. We must oppose and expose them both!

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