The New York Times whines whenever Republicans dare suggest that Democrats support socialist policies. The paper tried to rebut the charge in its latest “Fact Check” with political reporter Reid Epstein joining regular fact-checker Linda Qiu for “Attaching Democrats to Radical Socialists,” which assured readers that “On economic issues, Democrats in the United States are far to the right of the governing parties in most other Western democracies.”
But one interesting omission from the latest round of fact checking is a vital 2020 issue that the Times isn’t fact-checking Donald Trump on anymore: His accusations that Democrats favor “open borders.” Trump hasn’t stopped talking about Democrats wanting open borders in his stump speeches, but the fact checkers have stopped flagging it.
Perhaps that’s because even some of the paper’s liberal columnists are worried that too many Democratic candidates, by pushing for the abolition of ICE and decriminalization of illegal border crossings, are in favor of de facto “open borders.”
Qiu did so most vigorously in June 2018 with the bluntly headlined “No, Democrats Don’t Want ‘Open Borders.’” She has repeated that stand a dozen or so times afterward, apparently most recently in late December 2018.
The issue went dead as the Democratic candidates for president showed their radical stand on border crossing. Liberal columnist Frank Bruni fretted in the Sunday Review that “anything that smacks of open borders -- which is how President Barack Obama’s secretary for homeland security, Jeh Johnson, described Democratic presidential candidates’ positions in a recent op-ed essay in The Washington Post -- puts those candidates at odds with public opinion.”
Bruni made the same point in a column last week as well.
Also, columnist Thomas Friedman did a Q&A with readers after last week’s controversial column, and used the term to describe the stance of many of the Democrats on the debate stage:
What I worry about from the first Democratic debates was that by so many candidates offering so many free things to so many people -- some of them not even American citizens -- the gut message being conveyed by the party was that it’s for open borders and for taking care of people who just walked into our country illegally....
Here's political reporter Jonathan Martin arching his brow in concern:
[Three Democratic governors] were just as emphatic about immigration, warning 2020 candidates that their support for decriminalizing illegal migration would allow Republicans to cast Democrats as the party of open borders.
We eagerly await the paper’s follow-up fact check, “OK, So Maybe Democrats Do Want ‘Open Borders.’”