Sean Trende: A Rosy Future for the Republicans Without Immigration Reform — if they appeal to downscale Whites

It’s interesting that The Weekly Standard has published two articles opposed to the amnesty/immigration surge bill—interesting because we tend to assume that neocons are in favor of non-White immigration, their attitudes stemming from the Jewish identity of the core neocons. But we find none other than Bill Kristol in the opposition camp (‘Comprehensive’ Immigration Reform: Just Say No), along with Jay Cost (“The Wrong Fix for the Wrong Problem“).

I suspect that Kristol et al. realize that if the Republicans give in on immigration, it will speed the demise of the Republican Party—which is obviously true. (No wonder so many leftists, including the virulently anti-White Harold Meyerson, argue that the Republicans absolutely must vote for the bill to remain viable. Surely Meyerson has nothing but the best interests of Republicans at heart.)

And if the Republican Party ceases to be competitive at the national level, the neocons will lose their dominant position within its foreign policy establishment, to the detriment of their favorite country. (Although they have made a point to infect both parties, they are clearly much more powerful in the Republican Party, and war mongering on behalf of Israel is inherently more difficult to sell to the hard left that runs the Democrats these days.)

It goes to show that the fundamental commitment to Israel can trump a long history of the neocons moving the Republican Party to the left on diversity issues and immigration even as they lined up solidly behind the racialist, apartheid-promoting right in Israel. After all, Ben Wattenberg, who famously wrote in 1984 that “the non-Europeanization of America is heartening news of an almost transcendental quality” is rightly considered a neocon.

In making this judgment, Kristol relies on a series of articles by Sean Trende in Real Clear Politics arguing essentially that the Republicans can win if they simply make a better appeal to non-elite Whites, many of whom didn’t vote in the 2012 election. (This is substantially the same analysis as Hadding Scott’s in TOO A Party of Plutocrats has No Future“).

Key quotes from Trende, Part 1 of “The Case of the Missing White Voters”):

There were likely 5 million fewer whites in 2012 than in 2008. When you account for expected growth, we’d find 6.5 million fewer whites than a population projection would anticipate. … [these missing voters] tended to be downscale, blue-collar whites. …

[Black turnout increased because Obama is Black. Hence]  if the African-American share of the electorate drops back to its recent average of 11 percent of the electorate and the GOP wins 10 percent of the black vote rather than 6 percent (there are good arguments both for and against this occurring) … the next Republican would win narrowly if he or she can motivate these “missing whites,” even without moving the Hispanic (or Asian) vote. …

One option [for the GOP] is to go after these downscale whites. … Doing so would likely mean nominating a candidate who is more Bush-like in personality, and to some degree on policy. This doesn’t mean embracing “big government” economics or redistribution full bore; suspicion of government is a strain in American populism dating back at least to Andrew Jackson. It means abandoning some of its more pro-corporate stances. This GOP would have to be more “America first” on trade, immigration and foreign policy; less pro-Wall Street and big business in its rhetoric; more Main Street/populist on economics.

Part 2: “Does the GOP Have to Pass Immigration Reform?”
White voting has increasingly diverged from the rest of the country at a rate of 1.5% per four years since 1992. Even the upper Midwest states like Minnesota show “less pronounced” versions of this shift.

The diversifying parts of the country have shifted toward Democrats, as has the Northeast. But far overlooked is the movement in the heavily white interior. This really does matter: It wasn’t that long ago that states like West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Missouri were places where Democrats could win regularly at the local level, and be competitive at the presidential level.

Nineteen states have moved at least a point toward Democrats, while 25 have moved toward Republicans by a similar amount. If you weight the shift in each state by electoral vote, it actually works out to a slight shift toward Republicans overall. …

Against this backdrop, it seems a bit touchy to assume that Republicans will max out at around 60 percent of the white vote. This might be the case, but … it’s entirely possible that as our nation becomes more diverse, our political coalitions will increasingly fracture along racial/ethnic lines rather than ideological ones.

Trende is not comfortable with the reality that American politics has become racialized (TOO has 22 articles in the category “Racialization of American Politics“). He suggests that the fact that Whites tend to be relatively wealthy is the reason for this phenomenon, but he provides no data showing that wealth explains the 1.5% more Whites who are tilting Republican each election cycle since 1992.  Are 1.5% more Whites considering themselves wealthy enough to vote for Republicans in each election cycle? In fact, it’s well known that middle class and working class income has stagnated for decades. So how can Whites be becoming wealthier as a group?
It’s all about race, stupid. Whites are fleeing the party of diversity just as they flee neighborhoods with too much diversity.
The fact that younger Whites (age 18-29) voted 51-44 for Romney is another reason why wealth is an unlikely reason for Whites trending Republican. Young Whites are not at all wealthy, and in fact the current economic climate is disastrous for a great many young Whites. “The weak labor market has been, and continues to be, very tough on young workers” (see here). I strongly suspect that many young Whites are deeply concerned about their future in a non-White majority America.
In any case, these are the specifics of Trende’s racial polarization scenario:

[Consider] the following scenario: Let’s assume that immigration reform doesn’t pass, that the Democratic share of African-Americans reverts to 90 percent, that black voter participation drops somewhat, and that white participation picks up a notch. Let’s assume that the GOP share of the white vote continues to improve according to trend, about 1.5 points per year, with a “kicker” of a couple points for our “missing whites” returning in 2016. We’ll cap the Republicans’ share of the white vote at 70 percent. Let’s also assume that Hispanic and Asian voters gradually react to this by voting increasingly like African-Americans. To accomplish this, we’ll add three points to the Democrats’ share of the Hispanic and Asian votes each cycle.We might call this the “racial polarization” scenario ….

Democrats liked to mock the GOP as the “Party of White People” after the 2012 elections. But from a purely electoral perspective, that’s not a terrible thing to be. Even with present population projections, there are likely to be a lot of non-Hispanic whites in this country for a very long time. Relatively slight changes among their voting habits can forestall massive changes among the non-white population for a very long while. The very white baby boom generation is just hitting retirement age, and younger whites, while unsurprisingly more Democratic than the baby boomers (who, you may recall, supported George McGovern), still voted for Romney overall.

Assuming the immigration bill doesn’t pass (and relying on Nate Silver’s methods), Trende projects that the Republicans can continue to win presidential elections through 2040 even with racial polarization, all else equal as seen in the following chart.

Racial Polarization Scenario

But even this may be too pessimistic for Republicans. One can certainly imagine that more than 70% of Whites would vote Republican if the country were truly racially polarized. Why should Whites be the only group that does not vote on the basis of racial identity when it’s so obvious that everyone else is doing so and when Whites really start feeling threatened by multiculturalism, affirmative action, routine anti-White propaganda emanating from the elite media, etc. and the Republicans have enough sense to nominate someone with a populist economic program? The voting pattern of young Whites trending Republican in the recent election certainly points in that direction, especially when you consider that they are likely to trend much more Republican as they get older, just as their parents did. Whereas their parents who voted for McGovern in 1972 topped out at around 60% Republican when they reached their 60s, the young Whites who voted for Romney are beginning at a much higher level of Republican support. They may well peak at quite a bit higher than 70%. Who knows, even White professors may start trending Republican!

And of course all of the numbers provided by Trende, including his estimate of 60% voting for Romney in 2012, must be corrected by the unknown numbers of voters of non-European descent who are now included in the White category, including Jews who routinely vote 70-80% Democrat and are around 3% of the electorate.

Part 3: “The GOP and Hispanics: What the Future Holds”. Trende provides a variety of scenarios on the Hispanic vote which may benefit Republicans. He again brings up the racial polarization hypothesis which in this case would mean that more Hispanics would vote Democrat:

I don’t mean to leave the impression that the GOP will win no matter what it does. Tweak some of these assumptions, and you get plenty of Democratic wins too. And it may not matter what the GOP chooses. The most dispiriting possibility is that racially diverse electorates may inherently add racial cleavages to otherwise “neutral” issues, and that polarization becomes inevitable. That’s certainly the experience of Northern cities during the great immigrant wave of the early 1900s, as well as of the American South.

Trende argues that the growth of the Hispanic population will decline because of lowered immigration, lowered birth rate and because of outmarriage (“racial attrition”). He relies on an article by immigration cheerleader Michael Barone which I find completely unconvincing. His argument rests on an analogy: Black migration to the North occurred over one generation; therefore Mexican immigration to the U.S. will magically last only one generation, which means it’s over.

Barone’s article doesn’t factor in the likely effects of the Schumer/Rubio bill on the Hispanic population. Not only would it legalize at least 11 million illegals, it would allow them to bring their relatives in as citizens, resulting in a 30-40 million increase in non-Whites citizens, mostly Hispanic, in the next ten years resulting from chain migration (see here). Does anyone seriously think the relatives won’t come to the U.S. when one compares the government benefit scenario in Mexico versus the U.S.?

The Senate bill would increase by a factor of 4 the number legal immigrants. Even what Trende calls the “full Rubio” (i.e., trying the make the Republican Party as friendly as possible to Hispanics, resulting in 40-44% of Hispanics voting Republican over the next 35 years) could not overcome this massive surge in Hispanic voters. Republicans voting for the Schumer Rubio bill are idiots.

A bulwark of Trende’s analysis is that Texas will remain Republican for the foreseeable future, predicting that even with the racial polarization hypothesis Texas will not turn blue until 2048. But this may be far to rosy. Texas may already be in play, as discussed in a recent LATimes article (“Texas Democrats feel a change in the wind“:

The political significance of breaking the GOP lock on Texas, the nation’s second most populous state, cannot be overstated. Any realistic Republican path to the White House requires its 38 electoral votes, a number likely to grow in coming years as the population continues to boom. Texas is also a major source of funding for conservative causes nationwide and the home of the last two Republican presidents, both named Bush.

For Democrats, hope rests on the state’s rapidly shifting demographics and the faith that Latino, Asian and young voters will continue to support the party and its candidates in overwhelming numbers.

Two-thirds of Texas’ population growth over the last decade has come from Latinos, who make up about 38% of residents. By some projections, Latinos will surpass the white population, currently about 45%, by 2020 and become the majority in the state by 2030. The Asian American population, though much smaller than that for whites or Latinos, is growing even faster.

If these citizens, many of them new voters, are registered and cast ballots — two big ifs — Democrats are convinced they will transform Texas politics.

Texas is therefore about 7 years behind California in reaching a Latino plurality: California in 2013, Texas in 2020. In 2010 Whites were 42% of the population of California—not much different than the 45% in Texas mentioned above. Of  course, Whites in  Texas are  more conservative than Whites in California; after all, California is blessed with San Francisco.

But it’s hard not to think that Texas will fairly soon become just like California — transformed from a state with a Republican governor throughout the 1990s  (and even a Republican celebrity governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, from 2003-2011) to a state where no Republican has a prayer of winning state-wide office and the Republican Party is completely non-competitive in presidential elections. And when Texas goes Democrat, it’s the end of the Republican Party in national elections. The Schumer-Rubio bill would only speed up these changes.

Part 4: “Demographics and the GOP”

More on the White drift to the Republican Party:

It turns out that even after controlling for the economy, incumbency, and incumbent job approval, the white vote has become less Democratic over time in presidential races (p=.01, model r^2=.68). This trend stretches back to 1948. It suggests that if a Republican president were to run for re-election with the same fundamentals Reagan enjoyed (solid growth, 18-point net approval, seeking a second term), that president would receive somewhere in the neighborhood of 69 percent of the white vote today.

Again, Trende shows that all age groups of Whites are trending Republican, making it hard to suppose that wealth is what is driving Whites to embrace the GOP. And he demolishes Jonathan Chait’s brain-dead argument that young Whites will continue to vote relatively Democrat as they get older. The same older Whites who are most likely to vote Republican now narrowly favored George McGovern in 1972.

Ruy Teixeira and Alan Abramowitz have written a well-circulated (among liberals like Paul Krugman) reply to Trende. Posted on a far left website (ThinkProgress), the article argues that the  Republicans can’t win in the future without supporting the immigration bill. Trende’s reply seems cogent. The missing Whites were politically disaffected from Romney and the Wall St. mentality that he exuded in a way that missing non-Whites were not. The Republicans can’t assume that White identity is going to trump everything else. They have to appeal to working class Whites.
Amazingly, Abramowitz just posted an article that contradicts his view that Republicans must vote for the Schumer-Rubio bill if they want to survive “(Why Latinos Are Democrats (And Why They’re Likely To Stay That Way). Based on some real survey data, he argues, as others have, that Latinos are unlikely to vote Republican, not because of immigration policy but because of their stand on on social programs.
The bottom line for Whites is that the Republicans can win by appealing to Whites, at least in the near future. It’s certainly true that to some extent Whites can be taken for granted by Republicans. Although there were 6.5 million missing Whites who probably stayed away because of Romney’s image, there were doubtless many more who held their nose and voted for him anyway. The Republicans, after all, have a history of ignoring their base except with a bit of rhetoric around election time. It was the Republican base, after all, that stood up to the Bush administration’s push for an amnesty bill in 2007.
But if the Republicans are going to win presidential elections, they have to truly become a populist party geared to the needs and interests of Whites—all social classes of Whites. And even that won’t save them when Texas goes Democrat.
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