On Cantor: Dems Rang Pavlov’s Bell, Conservatives Barked

Well, Eric Cantor has lost his re-election bid to a fellow who seems exquisitely unready for prime time, and the questions are flying: did the Immigration issue sink Cantor? Is Immigration reform dead for this session? Will John Boehner “surrender” on “amnesty” and then run from office?

I’ve said this before, multiple times. The immigration question is never going to be settled, because no one wants it settled. The GOP is too afraid of its base to do anything, and the Democrats love that every midterm election they can replay old tactics and successfully drive the conservatives into a frenzy about all those Mexicans coming through the border.

Every midterm election year — and only in midterm election years since 2006 — has seen Immmigration street theater played out for the cameras. Usually it’s big Cinco de Mayo parades where A.N.S.W.E.R.-supplied Mexican flags are signs demanding all sorts of things are seen in abundance. In fact, earlier this year, I warned everyone to be on the watch for exactly that; when May proved to be unusually quite and undemonstrative for a midterm year, I just figured I was wrong.

Whoever imagined we’d see this policy of “dumping” people a little later in the year, just in time for the primaries?

Pretty shrewd — and dramatic — move for the midterm. The Democrats must be looking at some terrifying internal polling numbers for 2016, so this nuclear option, with ire-inducing photos like the one above, has been put in play. The Pavlovian Bell has been rung, and yes you betcha, Cantor’s loss was about illegal immigration.

We need serious reform of our NIS and our immigration norms, and have for decades. We will never see it because the far-right is utterly inflexible, the GOP has no gumption at all, and the Democrats love the optics and the “racist Republican” narratives they generate — a potent narrative, indeed.

As we have seen with the IRS story, the Democrats control the federal government and they have once again rung the bell. When I look up from my work for a minute to check out postings in social media, I see the barking, and the feeding frenzy. Right on time.

I know I will get all kinds of emails (because comments are closed until my pneumo-coughs are gone) yelling “Anchoress! Anchoress! How dare you call us reactionary Pavlovian dogs! You see the pictures! You see the dumping! Should we just let it go on?”

Well, no. You should have backed the immigration reform bill George W. Bush offered in 2006. Move beyond the wall of “no” and take control of the issue by writing and passing a truly comprehensive immigration reform — something beyond “first build the fence and secure the borders, then we’ll talk”, which clearly is not working. Until you do that, conservatives, you’re just going to get played again and again on this issue. Every midterm.

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!


About Elizabeth Scalia