“Abolish ICE” isn’t a solution, argues my colleague Ed Morrissey at the Daily Beast today, it’s a slogan. Indeed, and that’s being generous. It started as a Twitter hashtag, per HuffPost. As the phrase started showing up more online, desperate opportunists like Kirsten Gillibrand who are looking for an angle to shore up their left flank in the 2020 primaries glommed onto it. Just like that, the hashtag #AbolishICE had become the slogan “Abolish ICE,” which had in turn become a semi-serious policy proposed by a semi-serious U.S. senator. And once it did, other supposedly serious 2020 contenders had to keep pace with Gillibrand by proposing it too.
Suddenly Democrats have a problem. No one to the right of the DSA thinks “abolish ICE” will help claw back Rust Belt voters who flipped from Obama to Trump in the last election, but because it’s gone from zero to “litmus test” overnight with Gillibrand’s and Warren’s help, the party leadership can only run so far from the idea without getting into trouble.