Set aside what you think of guns or immigration as a matter of public policy or even morality. Instead, think of them as dye markers of how our cultural politics and the nature of the two parties have changed over time.
In the 1990s, it was common for Democrats to fret over both illegal and legal immigration. "All Americans," President Bill Clinton said in his 1995 State of the Union address, "are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country."
Barbara Jordan, the civil rights icon and onetime Democratic congresswoman, headed a commission which concluded that legal immigration rates should be modestly cut.