Beto O’Rourke started strong in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, commanding a larger fundraising total in his first 24 hours than progressive favorite Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). But in recent weeks, O’Rourke has started to drift left as his base of support moves over to South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
This weekend, O’Rourke drifted even further left on immigration, declaring that immigration laws preventing free movement across the border into the United States were basically a modern form of slavery, reports The Washington Free Beacon.
O’Rourke was headlining the Center for American Progress’ presidential candidate forum in Las Vegas, Nevada, playing to a large group of mostly far-left Democrats. Asked about immigration, O’Rourke volunteered that he believes illegal immigrants are subject to “bondage.”
“[With] Immigration, millions [are] living in the shadows, working some of the toughest jobs, lucky to make a minimum wage. Some not even making that,” O’Rourke said. “Kept in modern-day bondage, their immigration status used as leverage to keep them down from fully participating in this country’s success.”
The “economy that works too well for the few, but not enough for most Americans,” he concluded.
O’Rourke doesn’t have a solution, however. The closest he’s come to a true policy on immigration was earlier in 2019, when he told an MSNBC anchor that he would consider not just stopping construction and maintenance on the existing border wall, but also that he would work to rip down the existing sections of the border wall, opening cities like his hometown of of El Paso, Texas, as pass-throughs for border jumpers.
In January, he was even less settled.
“That’s a problem when you’re like, ‘It will be a wall,’ or ‘It will be this,’ or ‘We can only do it with this,’” O’Rourke said during a speaking event at the border. “The genius is we can nonviolently resolve our differences, though I won’t get to my version of perfect or I, working with you, will get to something better than what we have today. … It’s rare that someone’s ever been able to impose their will unilaterally in this country. We don’t want that.”
In March, O’Rourke came out strongly against Trump administration border policy, comparing the Trump White House to the Third Reich, and President Donald Trump to the Nazis over a comment Trump made in 2018 about MS-13 gang members, whom he called “animals:” “Now, I might expect someone to describe another human being as an infestation in the Third Reich. I would not expect that in the United States of America,” said O’Rourke.
O’Rourke seems determined to say whatever will best engage his increasingly dwindling audiences. Although he drew large crowds at the beginning of his presidential campaign, particularly in Iowa, his appearance at the Center for American Progress’ event in Las Vegas drew a meager 200 attendees in a city of thousands of dedicated union workers who reliably vote for a progressive agenda.
Beto is losing ground, though, across the board, and his efforts to court Democratic voters are getting stranger as his popularity and his poll numbers wane. In addition to a strong yet inscrutable immigration policy, Beto now supports reparations, has embraced full gun control, and frequently calls out former President Barack Obama.
The end is probably near.