On election night/morning, I was up way too late (or early) basking in the glory that was the Trumpening, when I was pinged on Facebook Messenger by a friend who was also up way too late (or early). We discussed our various states of happiness and satisfaction at seeing the smug wiped from liberal commentators’ faces live on TV. It was a glorious evening, but my friend was also hopeful that this would change the direction of my posting. In other words, my blog, in regard to political matters, had gotten way too depressing; decline, doom and gloom…it doesn’t make cheery reading sometimes, and I couldn’t argue with his point. In fact, I had recognized that myself. Although I’ve loved arguing and discussing politics, for the past two years I’ve mostly stopped bringing it up around company simply because I’ve recognized that I don’t have very much hopeful to say, and even I don’t want to hear the same doom and gloom. Of course, if someone else brought up politics, then I had no problem contributing to the discussion figuring, “Eh, you asked for it.” But I knew that there was no point in me bringing it up or discussing it when it did nothing but make me a buzz kill. Besides, there were other things to talk about.
But if there was anything that should make me hopeful about the future, a Trump victory, against all odds, with a Republican House and Senate should do the trick. And although there are plenty of negative things I could write about what that might mean, I think I owe myself at least one positive post on what a Trump administration could mean for arresting American Decline.
My central thesis on Democratic politics over the past couple of decades, and what’s wrong with American politics, goes back to Identity Politics. More and more we’re voting by tribe, rather than on issues. With the major defeat Democrats have suffered, some of them are being introspective and are trying to see where they went wrong. In The New York Times, The End of Identity Liberalism, explores whether Democrats had gone too far in dividing, and then buying votes, by identity.
“…But how should this diversity shape our politics? The standard liberal answer for nearly a generation now has been that we should become aware of and “celebrate” our differences. Which is a splendid principle of moral pedagogy — but disastrous as a foundation for democratic politics in our ideological age. In recent years American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing.
One of the many lessons of the recent presidential election campaign and its repugnant outcome is that the age of identity liberalism must be brought to an end. Hillary Clinton was at her best and most uplifting when she spoke about American interests in world affairs and how they relate to our understanding of democracy. But when it came to life at home, she tended on the campaign trail to lose that large vision and slip into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, L.G.B.T. and women voters at every stop. This was a strategic mistake. If you are going to mention groups in America, you had better mention all of them. If you don’t, those left out will notice and feel excluded. Which, as the data show, was exactly what happened with the white working class and those with strong religious convictions…”
So I think it’s fair to say that the white working class did notice that they were excluded from Hillary Clinton’s America. Not only did they not count, they were considered part of the problem. Some Democrats went even further and felt White Men were a problem to be dealt with. If you are promising a Caucasian Kristallnacht, that’s not a way to win votes; at least white working class votes. But this was no bug in the Clinton election machine; this was supposed to be a feature. The Obama 2012 re-election campaign explicitly excluded White Males as part of a re-election strategy. Clinton planned to simply copy what worked with Obama; a coalition of the fringes implicitly against White Men. I don’t think the Democrats current soul searching on identity politics will last long. Already they are considering Congressman Keith Ellison, 9/11 Truther, a far left ideologue and Muslim for DNC Chairman, Ellison is, as they might have said on 30 Rock, is a “two-for.” Whether that’s the right choice for a party rethinking its commitment to identity politics is obvious.
But that leaves an opening for a Trumpian alternative. It’s not a new idea. Paleo conservatism referred to it as Economic Nationalism, and Columnist Steve Sailer refers to it as Citizenism, or Civic Nationalism. Basically, it’s a governing philosophy that prioritizes Americans and American national interests over more nebulous ideological goals. This of course is much of what Trump stands for, and stands apart from much current Republican or Democratic platform planks.
Trade: Trade should serve the interests of American workers. Opening markets is great, but labor cost shopping to set up American factories in other countries to dump the more expensive labor costs of the US, only to turn around and import those manufactured goods back to the US tariff free.
Immigration: The goals of US immigration policy should be to benefit American workers. It’s not to ease the unemployment problems of other countries (Mexico) or to provide coolie labor to American corporations (Indian coders) so they can fire more expensive American workers.
Foreign Policy: The goal of US foreign policy should be to advance US national interests, not to subordinate those interests to other nations or groups of nations, i.e. “the world.” Although often the goals of the world and the United States may coincide, like the Gulf War. Other times, they won’t, such as in Kosovo and Libya (and Syria could be added to the mix).
These are all policies that in theory should be attractive to the working and middle classes across all cultural, ethnic, or racial lines. In a rational political culture, people would tend to vote their class interests. However the US, in the throes of multi-cultural nonsense and identity politics people tend to vote their demographics. Not in a perfect sense, and in the US in the 21st Century, your identity group isn’t simply “blood, soil, and gods.” It can be your sexual orientation, your gender identity, or if you view yourself as “elite” or not. But in modern America, your hyphen in most cases outweighs your identity as simply an American.
But still, this is mostly an ethnic/racial thing. And most people who identify hyphen-American identify by their ethnic or racial group. After being told for decades by the overarching leftist oriented culture that is the most important defining thing about a person, good old fashioned assimilation has been stopped in its tracks. This of course spells doom to Republican or any version of Conservative politics, however writer John O’Sullivan wrote a brilliant piece in National Review called The Latino Voting Surge that Never Happened. For me the surprise that a magazine that had defined itself in opposition to Donald Trump seems to have bended the knee and has for the most part accepted that Trump is the President elect. In some ways, I imagine this acceptance was just as difficult for NR as it was for Hillary Clinton. In any case, I encourage you to read the article, however these excerpts summarize the argument:
“That brings us to the second political conclusion: If Republicans campaign on the basis of the real ethnic nature of American society, they can win most elections most of the time. What is that real nature? Democrats and their allies like to present the electoral choice as one between a party of white America in retreat and one of minority America on the advance. As we have seen, however, their “white America” is a misnomer for a mainstream America that incorporates assimilated minorities so comfortably that they are generally unaware of having once belonged to a minority.”
In other words, as I’ve said before, race may or may not be a social construct, but being white definitely is.
“Pre-election commentary tended to suggest that, whether he intended it or not, Trump was the focus of a new politics of “white identity.” Some of Trump’s casual racial remarks certainly pointed in that direction. But his entire campaign, encapsulated in his slogan “Make America Great Again,” was directed to reviving a strong politics of national identity encompassing all Americans. Maybe the best way of accounting for the Latino vote, for instance, would be to say that Trump’s insulting remarks were ultimately outweighed by the fact that he presented a strong image of leadership that would put the interests of all Americans first. It is not hard to imagine that a Republican candidate who ran on a politics of cultivating and celebrating a generous American national identity but who also treated his opponents courteously and all citizens with respect would make his Majority-Minority coalition into a dominant electoral coalition in a less ravaged society.”
So everyone can be white!
Even within my demography is destiny worldview, I had left myself an out, as I wrote two years ago in Some Snags in the Inevitable Decline and Death of the GOP. Every non white group isn’t African American, and is not going to give 90% of their vote to Democrats based on a paper bag skin tone test. And in the long run, every non white group isn’t even non white. On some level, the Democrats recognize this and are fighting back:
”The White House is putting forward a proposal to add a new racial category for people from the Middle East and North Africa under what would be the biggest realignment of federal racial definitions in decades.
If approved, the new designation could appear on census forms in 2020 and could have far-reaching implications for racial identity, anti-discrimination laws and health research.
Under current law, people from the Middle East are considered white, the legacy of century-old court rulings in which Syrian Americans argued that they should not be considered Asian — because that designation would deny them citizenship under the1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. But scholars and community leaders say more and more people with their roots in the Middle East find themselves caught between white, black and Asian classifications that don’t fully reflect their identities.”
If the Democrats thought they could get away with it, they would create 100 different racial categories and end the non-Hispanic white majority right now. So in the same way I noted a Trumpian political platform that should be attractive to a broad majority of Americans, there is a social agenda needed to unhinge the left’s Balkanization of the country:
The Census: Get rid of the Hispanic category. It serves no useful purpose and serves a lot of dangerous ones. It’s a pseudo racial category that’s an attempt to keep anyone from a country where Spanish is the dominate language in the same downtrodden group, from a classics professor from Barcelona to an illiterate Guatemalan peasant. Although these are ultimately political decisions, I would trade having a Mestizo category in order to get rid of the Hispanic category. At least Mestizo’s can arguably claim to be sort of a racial category. Obviously I would oppose adding a separate Middle Eastern category.
Promote the Mainstream: I think O’Sullivan really hit on something when he suggested that white America is really mainstream America. So maybe it should just be referred to that way, in words and speeches, the goal is bringing everyone into mainstream America.
Junk Affirmative Action: Affirmative Action has been a very effective tool in splitting up the country. “Diverse” vs White People. This is the pivot that has created the current social situation where the Democratic Party is partly defined in opposition to white people. Middle Easterners would be a lot less interested in defining themselves as non white if they were not able to take advantage of minority small business loans and other affirmative action programs. Take away the giveaway advantages of being non white and people would be less interested in defining themselves that way. At least for the near term, I would still keep affirmative action for African Americans and Native Americans. At least those two groups can plausibly claim historic discrimination that’s damaged current prospects, something that other ethnic categories can’t plausibly claim.
A combination of these political and social planks could create a governing platform for a new governing majority in America, mainstream Americans. Of course this hinges on how successful a Trump Presidency is. Considering how improbable a Trump Presidency was in the first place, I’m going to bet on continued winning.