Let’s Lose More Elections

Abolish ICE” is a slogan that undoubtedly is being misinterpreted by many Americans as “Let’s have no immigration enforcement whatsoever.” (That’s not what candidates who say “Abolish ICE” actually mean.)

Yes, the slogan is an election-killing dud. And unless voters turn to Ouija boards to find out what anybody “actually means,” they’ll have to base their assumptions on the decades of Democrats being eager to accommodate global capital at the expense of workers and on the frequency with which the slogan “Open borders!” appears at Abolish ICE rallies.

It’s the height of insanity to promote “Abolish ICE” instead of “Abolish college debt burden,” or “Free community college for all,” or any actually meaningful ideas that would attract voters instead of scaring them.

17 thoughts on “Let’s Lose More Elections

  1. If the slogan is something you came up with and it’s two words… how can you claim you’re being misintrepreted? “Reform ICE” is just as short and one less syllable bumper sticker people, get on it! Or is it just some dumb Overton Window shit — “We want to reform it but it won’t happen if we say it so we’ll say abolish! [10,000 word essay follows]!”

    The tendency of Democrats to assume that if you just explain something enough with facts people will understand and be on your side while doing research into your slogan is just…naive? Wouldn’t it make more sense to say “Reform ICE” and then propose a list of reforms that render it unrecognizable if you really want to “abolish ICE?” And why haven’t we heard more replays of “Imagine” which people love but says the exact same things people freak out about?


    1. “Wouldn’t it make more sense to say “Reform ICE” and then propose a list of reforms that render it unrecognizable if you really want to “abolish ICE?””

      That would be really easy and really smart. It might even lead to not losing the election, and who wants that, right?

      But yeah, such an easy and logical path and it’s not taken, yet again. As that comedian said, we are a party that exists to lose.


      1. I didn’t register as a Democrat for the longest time because I want my reps to fight instead of rolling over– it’s a temperament mismatch.

        And adopting a right wing phraseology and the frame, “open borders” is such stunning political malpractice since I think it does misrepresent what most people want, even leftists. Most people have no idea what an open border is. Every time you go from Illinois to Missouri (for example) you cross an open border. You are prevented only by your ability to physically move yourself (drive, walk, whatever) over the border. You’re not showing any kind of papers.

        Or another example is the “wet foot dry foot” policy for Cubans. All they had to do was make it to land, and then they got permanent residency within a year. They didn’t need to prove much of anything and got expedited permanent residency. I don’t think anyone is seriously proposing this kind of policy for any immigrant, not even refugees.

        At best leftists are arguing for controls on a border to be less onerous. But see, I’m explaining this and it requires an entire article. In a political debate, I would’ve already lost because these are all new concepts.

        Perhaps there are right wingers who want the United States to have borders like the demilitarized zone between the Koreas or the border between India and Pakistan (effectively) or the Berlin Wall (closed borders). I don’t know.


        1. I think you are mistaken about what the radical faction wants. I have talked to quite a few people over the years who very literally want no borders at all. In academia, it’s not even a position. It’s the position. Borders are immoral and shouldn’t exist. It’s considered a given.


            1. Hey, I’m not even in a really cooky field. Those folks are much worse.

              I suggest looking at the titles of MLA conference talks. It’s genuinely creepy.


              1. Yeah, your part of academia seems a lot more radical than mine, too. Now I do believe that most people at the MLA are probably against borders, and I’m wondering if there is some link between the academic elite (which is how I would categorize the vast majority of MLA panelists) and this particular radical position. And maybe many professors educated at elite institutions, but teaching at non-elite schools, also hold more radical, unrealistic views.


  2. Amazingly this tweet isn’t ratio-ed but he has way too many responses.


  3. Borders are seriously troublesome to the neoliberal mindset.
    They reflect, among other things, collective differences between peoples which aren’t supposed to exist. You cross a line and people look and/or act differently or speak a different language. This is a source of serious cognitive dissonance for people who believe (or want to believe) that human beings are interchangeable widgets.
    Ultimately they want a proportionate mix of languages, ethnicities and races everywhere in the world so they can maintain this illusion and ascribe any differences that do manifest themselves to the individuals’ ineffable essence rather than biological and social realities.


      1. Apparently, Bernie Sanders said that open borders was a Koch Brothers project and we need to preserve the nation-state before he was eviscerated for it by his own party. Because it’s the dogma now.


  4. // I have talked to quite a few people over the years who very literally want no borders at all. In academia, it’s not even a position. It’s the position.

    This should read: “In AMERICAN (and Western European?) academia, it’s not even a position. It’s the position. ”

    I doubt the same is true for Eastern European, Middle Eastern, African and Spanish academic circles, to list just a few.


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