Obama's Immigration Move About Much More Than Politics

Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson Editor-at-Large, The American Prospect

The commemorations of the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s fall have thrust into the public spotlight the border guard who ordered the gates opened. The subject of both a new German-language book and film, one-time Stasi Lt. Col. Harald Jäger has recounted why he defied his orders. And his story couldn’t be more relevant to the debate consuming our own nation.

On the evening of Nov. 9, 1989, prompted by an erroneous announcement from an East German Politburo spokesman that his compatriots would be free to cross the border, thousands of East Berliners flocked to the checkpoint Jäger supervised. His superiors told him to keep the gates closed, though he could let a few people through, provided he marked the passports of those he determined were activists and blocked their reentry when they came back.

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The Democrats' Catastrophe and the Need For a New Agenda

Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson Editor-at-Large, The American Prospect

Democrats had ample reason to fear that this year’s midterm elections would not go well for them, but bad doesn’t begin to describe what happened to them—and the nation—yesterday. Catastrophic is more like it.

Democrats didn’t just lose the Senate; they lost statehouse after statehouse. They didn’t just lose the red states; they lost the purple and the blue. They lost the governorships of Maryland, Massachusetts and Illinois, and had the governor’s contest thrown into the legislature by the failure of their incumbent governor to win 50 percent of the vote in the socialist enclave of Vermont. They lost their last white member of the House from the deep South (Georgia’s John Barrow), but they also lost seats in the deep North—two in New York, one in New Hampshire, possibly one in Maine, and they are clinging to narrow leads in two of Connecticut’s five districts. Their statewide down-ticket candidates will probably all claim victory in deep-blue California, but by margins far narrower than those they’re accustomed to, and some presumably safe Golden State House seats are in danger as I write. 

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