Attacked for Criticizing Illegal Immigration
“Never Trump” columnist called a “racist” for reciting facts about foreign invasion
By S.T. Patrick
Bret Stephens is now a “white nationalist,” at least in the eyes of former CNN host and current UC-Riverside creative writing professor Reza Aslan. If that wasn’t castigating enough, failed CNN host Soledad O’Brien called him a “full-on bigot.” Stephens is a conservative columnist for The New York Times who wrote an op-ed criticizing 2020 Democratic candidates for their blanket advocacy of illegal immigration. For warning Democratic candidates against supporting illegal acts, Stephens got branded with the scarlet letter of the new millennium: a label marking the target as racially insensitive, fascist, bigoted or any combination of the three.
After watching the first two Democratic debates, Stephens wrote that the Democratic Party is a “party that makes too many Americans feel like strangers in their own country” and that “puts more of its faith and invests most of its efforts” in illegal immigrants rather than American citizens. What hit the intricately sensitive nerves of a wave of Democratic commentators was Stephens’s use of two words: “them,” describing illegal immigrants, and “us,” describing American citizens.
“They speak Spanish. We don’t. They are not U.S. citizens or legal residents. We are. They broke the rules to get into this country. We didn’t. They pay few or no taxes. We already pay most of those taxes. They willingly got themselves into debt. We’re asked to write it off,” Stephens wrote in his controversial op-ed. “They don’t pay the premiums for private health insurance. We’re supposed to give up ours in exchange for some VA-type nightmare. They didn’t start enterprises that create employment and drive innovation. We’re expected to join the candidates in demonizing the job-creators, breaking up their businesses, and taxing them to the hilt.”
In particular, Stephens was flummoxed that 10 Democratic candidates raised their hands at the debate, all assuring Americans that yes, their individual healthcare plans would, indeed, cover illegal immigrants within American borders. There is a complete disconnect between some candidates and average Americans if they believe that American taxes paying for illegal immigrant healthcare would elicit a sigh of relief from working Americans. Do they believe steel mill workers in Pennsylvania were on the edge of their seats, hoping someone, anyone, would make sure an illegal immigrant from Honduras or Mexico or Somalia would get free healthcare and a free college education? Yet, the candidates’ hands flew up like a teacher asking her class, “Who wants to go outside first at recess?” This is what baffled Stephens as he viewed the debates.
Stephens doubled down at the end of his article, writing, “The Democratic Party we saw this week did even less to appeal beyond its base than the president. And at least his message is that he’s on their—make that our—side.”
Critics came from far and wide, and Stephens responded to them on Twitter, saying that Aslan and O’Brien “unwittingly demonstrate a style of moral bullying and progressive demagoguery that turns people off and plays into Trump’s hands.”
For those who believe Stephens is a Trump loyalist out to harass and harangue Democrats en route to a cozy 2020 re-election, he is not. “In case you missed my last 1,000 columns or so,” Stephens continued, “I want nothing more than for Trump to lose. But right now, I’d bet he’s going to win because the left is driving away the voters Democrats need to win.” Stephens is actually a “Never Trumper” who believes the Democratic candidates have gone off the rails on the issues of illegal immigration, free healthcare, and free college.
But those weren’t the only issues about which Stephens was concerned. He wrote, “Since Democrats are already committed to destroying the coal industry and seem inclined to turn Silicon Valley into a regulated utility, it’s worth asking: Just how much of the private economy are they even willing to keep?”
The plea to Stephens’s Democratic friends was overt. Nothing was hidden. He also wrote: “Democratic friends, if you go on like this, you’re going to lose the elections. And you’ll deserve it.” When Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) screamed at law enforcement agents “in a threatening manner” during a recent visit to an El Paso, Texas Border Patrol facility, it also proved that the New Democrats have taken on a tone of irrationality. The agents do not make laws; she does. Maturity is on the last train out of D.C., and Ocasio-Cortez made herself the chief conductor. Is this a party that is trying to attract donors and voters?
Stephens was actually arguing not from a conservative pedestal, but from an American one. As the parties continue to choose candidates who seem hell-bent on alienating average Americans (Trump on war, the fight against whistleblowers, and the continual appointment of neocons and the Democrats on the issues contained herein), then Americans will further distance themselves from any interest and financial support of the two majority parties.
S.T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He spent 10 years as an educator and now hosts the “Midnight Writer News Show.” His email is [email protected] He is also an occasional contributor to TBR history magazine and the current managing editor of Deep Truth Journal (DTJ), a new conspiracy-focused publication available from the AFP Online Store.