This question was closed for being primarily opinion-based. According to the help section, subjective questions (as this one has apparently been deemed) should:

insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references

Which was what was asked for and specifically: Statements made by Democratic party officials or seat holders

The most highly upvoted answer appears to answer a different question, possibly: does the Democratic Party defend illegal immigrants?

I would say there are some limited examples, but overall Democrats don't support illegal immigration qua illegal immigration, while sometimes supporting illegal immigrants (the difference is crucial).

The last paragraph does seem to try to answer the question as asked, but also goes on to give their opinion of it:

The big piece of evidence is probably the sanctuary city issue.

The second highest answer does a good job of stating why there may be multiple interpretations of the question:

The problem here is that everyone has their own definition of "defending illegal immigration".

The rest of the answer is arguably opinion based with the user hypothesizing why each side believes as they do.

To me it seems clear that there are completely different semantic interpretations of some of the words depending on a person's political beliefs as the top comment to the question shows:

I think you need to define "defend", "illegal" and "immigration".

It is no secret that politics are divisive, especially recently, and people seem to jumping to the interpretation that most fits with their bias.

However, the latter three answers showed documented evidence of what the question was asking for so the question did not have to have opinion-based answers.

TL;DR: How do you fix a political question to avoid political biases in answers?


4 Answers 4


I would go so far as to argue that the question is not even on topic as defined in the help center.

  1. Working Themselves Out:

Processes are central to legislation is made. Questions seeking to understand the rules and processes by which policy is made in various legislatures or ruling bodies (inside and outside of the United States!) are wholly on topic

Just to clarify, Macroeconomics is specifically on-topic. Most public policy questions involve economic matters, so if you just need to understand how an economic principle works, ask away!

Doesn't meet this. You don't ask about rules and processes of anything, or the economics of anything.

  1. Conflicting Egos:

In just about any policy of substance, there are particular personalities that are central to its understanding, as well as demographic data about supporters and opponents of legislation. Asking “Why is [insert person here] such a jerk?” is clearly off-topic - the answer is highly subjective, but asking “What groups of people tend to support X in her implementation of policy Y?” is answerable using polls, punditry, and other verifiable and reproducible sources.

Doesn't meet this, either. Your question is more the "Why is X such a jerk?" variety. Your question cannot be cleanly answered with polls, punditry, or other verifiable and reproducible sources because it is not even clear what it is you are asking and looking for in an answer. The terms you use have non-canonical definitions, and the choice of definition drastically impacts the meaning of the question and possible answers.

The question also doesn't concern any conflict of any egos. Even if you try to argue that "Democrats" vs. "Republicans" manages to fit that (which might be reasonable, though still vulnerable to broad generalizations which don't actually work that well), you aren't asking about how conflicts between them arise or get worked out, or how people find themselves gravitating towards one camp or the other over an issue.

The closest you're gonna get is:

  1. Matters of Policy:

Central to the idea of this site are the nuts and bolts of policies introduced by governments, presumably for the welfare of their citizens. As such, asking about the tangible benefits and costs of legislation is on topic.

Immigration, legal or illegal, is certainly a matter of policy, with a vast variety of subareas to discuss particular policies for. But you're not asking about the nuts and bolts of immigration policy. You're not asking about tangible benefits or costs. You're not actually asking about anything in particular at all.

You are doing one singular thing: you want people to provide you with evidence for something that sounds bad. With no stated goal for it and no rationale for it. Trying to focus on particular types of sources does nothing whatsoever to resolve any of this. All it suggests is that you recognize certain types of "evidence" for the incendiary and poorly defined topic can be more effectively weaponized.

We are not here for that.

This sort of question is not suitable to my mind, by any stretch of the imagination, on any site in the network. Your best shot on such a question is skeptics, but you'd have to at least provide a substantive source making the claim you're asking about in the post itself. And as the reaction seems so far to be to utterly and wholly ignore this and everything else and to focus on "I wanted particular, explicit sources, ergo it's okay," I don't imagine you have any desire to do any such thing, and that this is 100% an attempt to co-opt the stack exchange to feed an agenda.

If you insist that's not what you're doing, then try listening and define what you mean and what you are looking for in an answer in clearer language. Multiple comments have been provided to you pointing out this problem, and suggesting particular ways of making your intent and interests clear.


I don't think that opinion-based is the real problem here. The question should have been closed as unclear, as the comment you quote points out:

I think you need to define "defend", "illegal" and "immigration".

This also becomes obvious in the answers. This answer for example defines "defend illegal immigration" as "protects basic rights of illegal immigrants once they are in the country". In the first half, it even goes so far as to define "illegal" as "non-citizen".

I think your question would be improved by making clear what it is asking about.

If something along the lines of the linked answer would be what you were asking for, something like "How do Democrats support illegal immigrants or legal non-citizens once they are in the country?" might be more fitting (although quite broad).

If you actually want to know if Democrats are proponents of illegal immigration (as in, they encourage it), then the top-voted answer seems to answer that. In that case, you might want to make it clear in the question that it is not about the treatment of people once they are in the country, and it is also not about legal immigrants (non-citizens in general, people requesting asylum, etc), as those are different issues. Being explicit about this will avoid off-topic and bad answers.

  • I believe that will lead to the same issue. Both sides seem to believe their own self-evident definitions of "illegal immigration" and "defend".
    – user_42
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 18:43
  • Also, the distinction between those who will commit the act and those who have committed the act do not seem as different as the top answer and yourself seem to imply. Perhaps that is simply my bias against your bias and would be the same overarching issue of how to phrase a question that can be interpreted differently based on bias.
    – user_42
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 18:46
  • 3
    @user_42 If you define what exactly you are asking about, then people may still disagree in the comments, but answers should work within the frame you set. And the distinction isn't between "people who are here" vs "people who will be here", but "Do Democrats want illegal immigration?" vs "How do Democrats want to handle people who illegally migrated?". The way you asked the question, it seems to be more about the former. What you seem to want an answer to is the latter. By not making the question clearer, you are blurring the lines between the two issues.
    – tim
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 20:27
  • If you actually want to know if treating illegal immigrants a certain way is akin to supporting illegal immigration, then you should explicitly ask that (though that might actually be opinion-based). But either way, at best, the question is just not clear right now.
    – tim
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 20:34
  • This, for the record, is the reason I voted to close the question. As-is it is far too vague and subject to wildly different, including wildly inflammatory, interpretations. If the OP specifies the more-or-less precise definitions they wish to use then I would be more open to it. It's pure opinion what the question even means as-is, which is not a good thing. But not everyone voted for the exact same reason, and the SE code only ever picks and shows the one (those with high enough rep should be able to see all close votes after it's been closed, I think). Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 4:01
  • 2
    I just wanted to note that as tim says, I specifically read the question as "Do Democrats want more illegal immigration into the country?" as written now. There is a distinction between "how to treat illegal immigrants while in the country" and "defending illegal immigration". I don't think the question is biased, just unclear. It's the responses to the questions that end up being biased, as the two sides end up talking about different issues.
    – Eremi
    Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 12:46

TL;DR: How do you fix a political question to avoid political biases in answers?

In this particular case you can utilize statements published by the President Of the United States via the Twitter Internet service to comport with

insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references

The below "tweets" are each attributed to "@realdonaldtrump" at the Twitter Internet service

The face of the Democrats is now Maxine Waters who, together with Nancy Pelosi, have established a fine leadership team. They should always stay together and lead the Democrats, who want Open Borders and Unlimited Crime, well into the future....and pick Crooked Hillary for Pres. Jun 26, 2018 07:36:18 AM

We must maintain a Strong Southern Border. We cannot allow our Country to be overrun by illegal immigrants as the Democrats tell their phony stories of sadness and grief, hoping it will help them in the elections. Obama and others had the same pictures, and did nothing about it! Jun 22, 2018 08:43:06 AM

My Administration is acting swiftly to address the illegal immigration crisis on the Southern Border. Loopholes in our immigration laws all supported by extremist open border Democrats...and that's what they are - they're extremist open border Democrats....https://t.co/F73I5gu0Q5 Jun 21, 2018 12:02:40 PM

It’s the Democrats fault, they won’t give us the votes needed to pass good immigration legislation. They want open borders, which breeds horrible crime. Republicans want security. But I am working on something - it never ends! Jun 20, 2018 08:41:25 AM

Democrats are the problem. They don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13. They can’t win on their terrible policies, so they view them as potential voters! Jun 19, 2018 08:52:24 AM

There are two options available, either

  1. The "tweets" by the President of the United States are considered to be false political rhetoric; not to be taken seriously; incapable of being vetted by way of fact-checking; or

  2. The "tweets" by the President of the United States are considered to be true political rhetoric capable of being vetted by way of fact-checking.

If option 1. is the case, all questions and answers at Politics Beta containing any reference to what the current President of the United States has published should be placed "on hold" as being unequivocally false; "off-topic"; "primarily opinion-based".

If option 2. is the case, then OP is simply performing their political due diligence by fact-checking the actual statements ("tweets") attributed (there is plausible deniability involved here, as there has at least once been an occasion where the President's lawyer supposedly was attributed with a "tweet") to the President of the United States using the Twitter Internet service, without relegating the inquiry solely to the premise of a tone being set by the cumulative statements of the President of the United States and senior cabinet officials as to the subject matter of "illegal immigration".

Thus, relevant to this specific case, the user can utilize the statements of the President of the United States to either substantiate that statements made by the President are factually false, or factually true. Either way, fact-checking must be performed. To get to that point logic demands that the question must first be asked:

Is there evidence that the Democratic Party defends illegal immigration?

which OP did.

The result of the inquiry cannot be opinion-based. That does not mean that individuals will not apply their politics to the result of the fact-checking, and draw their own opinionated conclusions, irrespective of the facts.

It is up to the individual to determine what is fact and opinion, not other users or moderators, or the "site" itself.

The fact-checking process must be thorough, including answers from all perspectives, in order to gather as much evidence as possible for the purpose of determining truth, not limiting input to avoid the process of fact-checking in the first instance.

  • It must be emphasized here that "tweets" made by the President of the United States at the Twitter Internet service are official statements by and of the Office holder. Either the statements ("tweets") can or cannot be trusted as being factual and sincere; are to be taken seriously, or are not to be taken seriously. Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 22:47
  • 1
    The White House's opinion on the "official statements" angle has been variable at best, arguing at times that they are statements by a private citizen. Though recent court decisions regarding his blocking of people who disagree with him would indicate that the courts aren't buying that and do consider them official statements by a public official. While invoking tweets to explain the origins of the question might help the question, your take on what to do there seems to require hundreds of pages of research to be satisfied, which makes the question obviously too broad. Commented Jun 30, 2018 at 4:00
  • @zibadawatimmy "your take on what to do there seems to require hundreds of pages of research to be satisfied" Not sure what you mean? Commented Jun 30, 2018 at 6:44

There is nothing whatsoever "primarily opinion-based" about the question. Either the evidence exists or it does not.

The premise that

insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references

is inherently flawed within the scope of "politics".

The user themselves can conceive of the question, without needing to cite newspaper articles or op-eds, "tweets" on the Twitter service (if one reviewed every "tweet" by the U.S. President, one would likely find similar language as the text at the original post; though the tone and sentiment of the U.S. President is clearly evident; thus, the question asks if there is evidence of the general tone of the U.S. President as to "illegal immigration" and whom is to "blame" for particulars as to the broad topic of "immigration", both "legal" and "illegal"), "Republicans" or "Democrats", or any other person outside of themselves.

Some might not like being described as a "critic"; let us read the plain meaning of the word

  1. a person who expresses an unfavorable opinion of something. "critics say many schools are not prepared to handle the influx of foreign students"
    synonyms: detractor, attacker, fault-finder, backseat driver, gadfly "critics of the government"

  2. a person who judges the merits of literary, artistic, or musical works, especially one who does so professionally. "a film critic"
    synonyms: reviewer, commentator, evaluator, analyst, judge, pundit "a literary critic"

Users have already answered the question. Those users understood the question. Those users' who voted to close the question opinion should be of no value to you. They did not understand you in the first place nor answer the very clear question.

By the way, perhaps SE should fix the broken listing of reasons for closure of a question, as has been asked numerous times

  • 4
    I believe that Politics Stack Exchange should be a community to learn and teach about politics and political processes in a subjective and fact-oriented manner. It should not be a platform for discussions, opinions, emotions and political activism. I believe that political discourse is important for a democratic society, but there are already more than enough websites for that.
    – Philipp Mod
    Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 11:45
  • @Philipp "Subjective" and "fact-oriented" are often at odds with each other. This would be one such case, as this user said, the question was answered so it was not as unclear as some say and there were facts to support the answers, objectively. Some (most from what I have seen, or maybe they are just more outspoken) users have strong opposite biases and will twist the question semantically to be able to answer supportive of their beliefs, subjectively. Facts are facts and if someone wanted to ask the opposite question, there should be facts supporting or refuting it as well.
    – user_42
    Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 14:11
  • @Philipp Did you actually state that Politics SE should be a community that "teaches"? Teaches what, precisely? Not sure what you mean by "democratic society"? Am not aware of any purely "democratic" societies that actually exist in this world. The U.S. is a representative republic, not a democracy; the Founding Fathers were concerned with the "mob" rule. What you believe Politics SE should be is not what it is. Who the hell do you think you are to close questions based on your opinion? There is a substantial amount of ex post facto censorship conducted by moderators. Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 14:44
  • 2
    @guest271314 how would you define moderator if not someone given the responsibility to judge what the site should be? If you don't understand the SE model I would recommend starting at the tour and asking follow up questions here on meta so we can help you learn.
    – user9389
    Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 16:00
  • @notstoreboughtdirt If there are actual technical issues with the site, then dive in, else mod-squad should remain silent, and stay out of the way. No, mod-squad should not "judge what the site should be". In this particular case (several others can be addressed as well) there were 5 answers to the question before individuals decided to vote to "close" the question. If you do not like the question, stop reading the question and remove yourself from the question entirely. Instead users decided to argue their ignorance of what the question is when they should have ceased viewing the question. Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 19:46
  • I think you are conflating mods and devs. Mods have no powers over the technical aspects of the site, they are empowered (through community election) mostly to have powers the community as a group already has but also some weeding tools for comments and users. You seem to be a capable writer and politically knowledgeable so I'd rather see you understand and adapt to the system than remove yourself by getting frustrated bashing your head against it.
    – user9389
    Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 20:48
  • @notstoreboughtdirt The close votes at the linked question and at As of June 26, 2018 is the United States at war? are absolutely ridiculous. Ex post facto users change their minds and rally for closure of questions that have already been answered: clear evidence they are clear to the users who answered. That should be the end of the see-saw would-be debate as to whether the question is "unclear" or not: answers (including self-answers). Am not frustrated in the least. Have been challenging the status quo for many decades; shall not relent Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 21:23

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