Barney Frank To Disenchanted Millennial Voters: Get Over It

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DARTMOUTH, Mass. — Former U.S. Representative Barney Frank had some blunt thoughts for those still questioning the fairness of last year’s Democratic presidential nominee process, in which supporters of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders heaped criticism on the party’s superdelegate system that helped Hillary Clinton.

Asked at a recent University of Massachusetts School of Law forum about whether the Democratic Party is suffering from a “crisis of legitimacy,” the 16-term congressman unloaded.

“First of all, I completely disagree with any suggestion that there was something illegitimate about Hillary’s nomination,” Frank said. “Hillary Clinton was nominated because she got more votes in primaries than Bernie Sanders.”

Pressed on the issue, specifically on the notion that younger voters may have felt the party “didn’t give Bernie Sanders a chance,” Frank claimed that the party “couldn’t be behind either candidate.”

“And to those people who keep telling me that the Democratic National Party rigged it, given the structure of American politics and when it comes to nominating a candidate, neither national committee could put out a fire in a bathtub,” Frank added. “They have no power.”

Frank also threw some shade in the direction of millennial voters while answering an audience member’s question.

“You mentioned the disaffected younger voters, let me say something about them:  their disaffection with the Democrats is probably not as great as my disaffection with them,” he said. “I’m tired of this ‘woe-is-me, I’m 22, and the world is tough.’ I used to be 22, if they do not understand the mistake they made if they didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton then I don’t know how you teach them.

“What do the Democrats have to do to make these young people feel better? At this point I’d tell people who are still unhappy about 2016 to get over it.”

The colorful Frank’s speaking engagement, sponsored by UMass-Law’s immigration litigation clinic, saw the Beltway veteran expound on numerous issues, including President Donald Trump’s approach to immigration reform.

Below is a collection of quotes culled from Frank’s 45-minute appearance.

On newspapers:

“My doctor has given me good news about my heart, but it means I’m going to unfortunately outlive at least one thing that I’ve relied upon for much of my life:  newspapers are my spine.”

On his newfound enjoyment reading the Wall Street Journal:

“I now buy the Wall Street Journal. I’m now reading their political section because I’m enjoying their distress at the actual incompetence and political mistakes of Donald Trump. I don’t know if anybody here speaks any Yiddish, but one of the great Yiddish words is ‘plotz,’ which is to feel terrible about somebody close to you who is screwing up.”

On the chances that Congress will pass a comprehensive immigration reform package within the next decade:

“No, uhhh, I’m pessimistic. First of all, the president has so boxed himself in with this anti-immigrant rhetoric. He doesn’t like Mexicans. He doesn’t like Muslims. It’s kind of hard to create a bill that would let in only the immigrants he likes.”

On what he thinks would successfully put a halt to illegal immigration:

“I thought of it 20 years ago, there’s only one way if we want to restrict people from coming here illegally, I will have to argue with some of my civil libertarian friends about it, the only thing that will work would be to establish a national registry of people who have a legal right to work in this country. We have the technology to do it. The only thing that will work will be to go after the economic incentive.”

On illegal immigration and welfare:

“The people that are coming here illegally, they’re not coming to get welfare. That’s one myth that should be put to rest. You can’t get welfare.”

On illegal immigration and Social Security:

“The people who come here illegally and have worked over the years have made one major contribution to the fiscal solvency of our social safety net. Many of them have been working and paying into Social Security under false names, which means they will never collect. There’s literally been billions put into Social Security by people who cannot collect because they were working under false names and false Social Security numbers.”

On deportations vs prison:

“I do not understand why deportation is considered a harsher punishment for someone who has committed a crime than 10 years in prison. I would think many of these people would rather go home.”

On states, cities, and towns enforcing federal law:

“Do we want the state of Massachusetts and the local communities to enforce federal law regardless of state preferences? My answer is no. I do not want the State Police to be arresting people for using medical marijuana. Remember that under federal law, even medical marijuana is a crime.”

On Attorney General Jeff Sessions and marijuana legalization:

“We have an attorney general who thinks it’s a serious problem, it’s not some trivial thing like black people being harassed when they try to vote, which to him seems very acceptable, he thinks marijuana is a terrible thing. So why just this federal law? Why not marijuana?”

On why people enter the United States illegally:

“The immigrants by definition are entrepreneurial, energetic people. One of the things that’s very clear — lazy people do not emigrate. Who picks up and comes to a country where you don’t speak the language?”

On Trump’s proposed Mexican border wall:

“If they do build a wall, it cannot be very long before we’ll have to build a wall along the Canadian border. I mean, people who are clever enough to get here are not so stupid that they don’t notice Canada.”