Just days into the Trump administration, the left’s narrative is clear. First, it was that Donald Trump is an “illegitimate” president because he didn’t win the popular vote, claims about “voter fraud” notwithstanding.
Then the left tried name-calling. Unfit. Immoral. Crude. High-handed. Fascist. His supporters stuck with him when similar tactics were tried during the campaign.
Now the narrative has gone “racist,” that all-purpose word the left seems ready to attach to anyone for any reason. Egged on by their media allies, Democrats called the temporary halt on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries “racist” and referred to it as a travel “ban.” It was nothing of the kind and, according to a recent USA Today report, the Department of Homeland Security, as of Sunday night, said “all 109 travelers who were detained for additional screening under Trump’s order had their cases resolved.” The department granted waivers to 392 legal permanent residents “after they underwent additional screening and allowed to enter the country.”
This action shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s what Mr. Trump promised during the campaign.
It should also be noted, because the major media doesn’t, that the past six presidents have limited access or banned outright immigrants from certain parts of the world deemed dangerous, as they are allowed to do by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. These include former President Obama, who couldn’t help himself and spoke out against the temporary delay. Mr. Trump’s action, as noted by Matt Vespa for Townhall.com, “is based on a bill that Obama signed into law in December 2015.” At that time Mr. Obama restricted waivers from the same seven majority-Muslim countries — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen — that President Trump did.
When I traveled internationally during the Ebola epidemic, U.S. immigration officers would routinely ask if I had been to areas infected with the virus. If I had, you can bet I would have been pulled out of line for further questioning and screening, perhaps even quarantined. When I travel internationally, I must also list the countries I have visited on a U.S. Customs and Immigration form. If it shows a pattern of visiting places that foment terrorism, I would expect to be questioned about the purpose of my travels.
Now we come to the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Even before his name was announced, liberal groups pledged to oppose him and urged Senate Democrats to filibuster the nominee in retaliation for the Republicans’ refusal to give an up-or-down vote on Mr. Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asked for such a vote for Judge Garland, but he appears to be ready to try to deny an up-or-down vote for Judge Gorsuch. For such actions the word “hypocrisy” was created.
Does Judge Gorsuch have the best possible experience? Yes, but it won’t matter to Democrats. A great education? Yes, doesn’t matter. Good temperament? Yes, doesn’t matter. The fact that he was unanimously approved by the Senate for his appeals court seat won’t matter, either, even though some of the Democratic senators who voted for him are still in the Senate and may vote against him this time out of party loyalty.
Remember Sen. Ted Kennedy’s “Robert Bork’s America” line? When the left gets through sliming Judge Gorsuch, his own family won’t recognize him. It’s all about the narrative, but will it work against Judge Gorsuch, as it did against Judge Bork? Social media and cable TV can help explain to the public his views on the Constitution and in the end, Judge Gorsuch will likely be confirmed, especially if Republicans borrow from former Sen. Harry Reid and employ the “nuclear option,” which establishes the principle that a simple Senate majority can overrun any rule at any time.
Democrats have run out of ideas, even bad ones, and have nothing left but name-calling and protests. The fact that voters have rejected their agenda has not yet resonated with them. They are like people who attend oldies concerts and wave their hands in the air, eyes closed, singing “The Age of Aquarius,” like it is 1969 again. For them, the sun isn’t shining in, it’s setting. That narrative hasn’t changed.
• Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist. His latest book is “What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America” (Zondervan, 2014).