President Donald Trump and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) gave dueling speeches Monday night in El Paso, Texas. While the president repeated his intention to build the wall and slammed Democrats for their increasing trend toward socialism, O’Rourke condemned walls in general as a threat to life. In doing so, he accidentally descended into a parody of the Democratic Party.
“We know that walls do not save lives, walls end lives,” O’Rourke declared.
“In the last ten years, more than 4000 children, women, and men have died trying to come to this country, to work jobs that no one will take, to be with a family member, to flee horrific brutality and violence and death in their home countries,” the former congressman argued. “As we build these walls — 600 miles of the 2000-mile border walled up and counting — we push them to ever more treacherous and remote stretches of the U.S.-Mexico border, thereby ensuring greater suffering and death.”
Yes, Beto O’Rourke claimed that “walls end lives” because immigrants will have to go the long way around and are therefore more likely to die. Trump would counter that walls are a deterrent — by making it more difficult for immigrants to cross into America, the wall discourages them from putting their lives on the line in the first place.
Notice which side is dehumanizing immigrants. Beto O’Rourke’s logic treats immigrants like automatons, assuming they will try to come to America no matter what and the only way to save the poor dears is to make it as easy as possible for them to come here. Trump’s logic treats immigrants like human beings who will make risk-benefit assessments. If a wall makes it harder for them to enter the country, they might re-evaluate their decisions. Perhaps they will go to entry points to apply for asylum, instead of crossing the border illegally.
The Democrat golden boy’s argument doesn’t just dehumanize immigrants, however. It repeats the absurd suggestion that a Republican policy must be opposed at all costs because people will die if it goes into effect.
In 2017, Democrats opposed the Republican tax cuts, repeating over and over again that “people will die!” Unfortunately, people die every day. Most of those deaths are not directly attributable to legislation or border walls. As in the case of the tragic deaths of immigrants trying to enter the country illegally, a concrete policy — or border wall — is not the only or even primary cause of deaths.
Opposition to a policy because it can tangentially be connected to unrelated deaths or because it does not directly prevent deaths is absurd. This hyperbole is laughable, and Reason released a video in 2017 revealing just how laughable it is.
O’Rourke, who came surprisingly close to defeating Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in the 2018 U.S. Senate race, seems to be testing the waters for a 2020 presidential run. In another moment of accidental self-parody, Beto O’Rourke livestreamed a dentist appointment — on Instagram!
Saying “walls end lives” may pander well to some rabid anti-Trump Democrats, but if Beto O’Rourke is serious about a 2020 run and wants to actually beat Trump in a national election, this rhetoric will likely make him a laughingstock.
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