Liberal Myths: Proposition 187

There are some things that just are not at all true, but are still part of the conventional wisdom, and are repeated with frequency in magazine articles and talking head shows.  Lies often have a useful function and the longevity of the Prop 187 myth is due primarily to just how useful it is, to both sections of the left and right.

And so this story is trotted out once again, in Peter Beinart’s piece in The Atlantic, The Republican Party’s White Strategy.  This time, the purpose is to attempt to discredit Trump’s anti-illegal immigration strategy by arguing that it’s been tried before, to utter failure, and Trump is offering a redo of the same failed strategy that will lead to the same result as it allegedly led to in California, unending Democratic rule as far as the eye can see.

Well there certainly is unending Democratic rule for as far as the eye can see in California.  The gist of Prop 187 myth is as follows:  The 1994 proposition forbade illegal aliens from accessing non emergency medical care, public education, and other California services.  Republican Governor Pete Wilson latched on the proposition to win re-election, but by doing so, he destroyed the Republican Party in California by forever alienating Hispanic voters because of hate, bigotry, or whatever.  Except for celebrity candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger, Republicans have been shut out from power ever since.

That general thesis has been more or less debunked on the right. Anne Coulter broke down the issue here, arguing that supporting Prop 187 won Pete Wilson a 20 point victory in the election. The actual vote totals on the Prop 187 referendum break down this way:

Support for Prop. 187 was strongest among white non Hispanic voters (+28 points), and especially white males (+38 points). Latinos, on the other hand, voted No by a 73% to 27% margin. Blacks and Asians divided about evenly, with 52% voting in favor and 48% opposed.

So in terms of an ethnic breakdown, Prop 187 was popular and won among all ethnic groups except for Hispanics.  Even then, as Coulter points out, Proposition 187 was still more popular among Hispanics than President Bush was in running for re-election just 2 years earlier (14% in California).

So Prop 187 passed and the voters never had contact with it again.  Naturally this proposition went to the courts immediately and was finally struck down in the California courts in 1997.  So how did a wildly popular voter’s referendum that helped a flailing Republican gubernatorial candidate achieve a massive re-electoral victory doom the Republican Party in California?

Beats me.  But that’s the myth.

But the media and conventional wisdom have stuck with that, but actually there is a simpler answer and since it comes from the left in theory it should resonate at least with those more left leaning.  Reliable Lefty writer Kevin Drum of Mother Jones takes another look at the proposition 187 myth and finds it lacking.  Welding the mighty tool of Occam’s razor, a tool that’s useful only as long as you are not trying to confabulate a Rube Goldberg method to get a preferred answer, Drum makes a simple observation:

The greater the share of the non white vote; the greater the share of the Democratic vote.  It’s the demographics…again.  Prop 187 wasn’t even a bump on the road to Republican decline; that marched in lockstep with the share of the nonwhite electorate.  This is now and will be soon replicating itself across the United States.  Of course as I’ve noted, there could be stop sticks along the way, but the general trend, in our tribalistic era, is that the Republican electorate shrinks as the white population shrinks, and it’s shrinking everywhere.

So even though the Prop 187 myth isn’t true doesn’t mean it’s not pointed out real problems.  But the purpose of the myth is to force Republicans into open borders/amnesty types of positions; in other words, to accelerate the shrinking of their own electorate.  It’s clearly obvious why the Democrats would support that, but why do so many Republicans fall for that too?

It’s not called the stupid party for nothing.

RINO’s in Winter

Mitt Romney went insane earlier today, launching an attack on GOP front runner Donald Trump, in an effort by the Republican Party to sabotage its own front runner and ensure a humiliating defeat this fall for a party that has fetishized defeat as a noble virtue.

Or at least that’s how it looks to me.  Apparently GOPe has decided that they would much prefer another President Clinton to the possibility of actually winning anything, and will take down their own party to make sure they cruise into the November election to a humiliating Goldwater-like defeat by splitting the party.

And for what?

It’s hard to grasp this split is simply over policy differences. Position wise, Trump is a moderate Republican.  In spite accusations to the contrary, Trump is no right wing zealot.  Instead he, as an analysis piece in the Washington Post points out, he is a “textbook moderate.” The weird thing is, if you break it down issue by issue, Trump is a RINO, the exact type of Republican the establishment should love, and the exact type they’ve foisted on the Republican electorate in the past, and the exact type that they’ve always said was the only electable choice.

So what’s different? Except for trade, Trump is running on Romney’s 2012 platform. Now before you say, immigration, Romney ran on “self deportation.” The health reform plan that he released today is almost identical to the one Romney ran on. I can’t remember when a candidate has ran on a platform so identical to his failed predecessor. Is giving up bad trade deals that important to them? Or is it just a matter of style? Trump is a “short fingered vulgarian” after all. Or is it just that he’s running without any donor support and needs nothing from the GOPe?

Inquiring minds…

In the meantime, important GOP establishment “thought leaders,” inspired by Mitt Romney’s bout of suicidal mental illness, are planning their own vivisection of the Republican Party.

I can think of a name for the new party; the Whigs.  The future of the Republican Party is starting to look like it’s past.

 

 

Donald Trump – Leader of the American UKIP?

I’ve been giving some thought to the rise of The Donald, and how it compares to the previous insurgencies on the right, most recently the Tea Party.  The Tea Party was as much a revolt against the Republican establishment as against the Obama administration. Before they could take power, they first had to win primaries against incumbent Republican office holders. The Tea Party gave the Republicans major victories both in 2010 and in 2014 (2012?  Not so much.  There were 50 million extra non Tea Party voters).  Not that the Party establishment was particularly grateful.  Although grateful for House and Senate majorities that allowed the leadership to get bigger offices, they had no interest in the Tea Party priorities, cutting the budget, deficit reduction, and getting rid of Obamacare. The result has been a low grade civil war within the party for years, and given the conduct of the Republican majority Congress, the establishment is definitely winning.

At the same time, there has been a parallel right leaning movement rising across Europe, In France, it’s the National Front, in the UK it’s the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), in Denmark, it’s the Danish People’s Party and so on.  These parties are not European Tea Parties.  In Europe, the battle of big government against the little guy was decided long ago, and big government won, but these Parties are growing on issues that have nothing to do with Tea Party issues.  These parties are Euroskeptic, anti-immigration, and nationalist.  Now I wonder if there is an American equivalent…

And yes there is, Donald Trump.  As I’ve noted before, Donald Trump isn’t a conservative, in the American tradition, and he’s barely a Republican, but he is an economic nationalist. Unlike in Europe, which has had these nationalist, right leaning movements for years, there hasn’t really been a US equivalent except on the edge of right wing thought in the Paleo and dissident right.  Within the Overton Window of allowable views, there was no room for an economic nationalist.

Until now.

In the month and a half since The Trumpening, Donald Trump has not only upended the Republican primary, he’s upended the issues and agenda that will define the 2016 race. He’s altered the discussion on immigration.  Instead of discussing how many and will they get citizenship and how soon, the argument is now, “why should they be here at all?”  On trade, Trump is positioning to upend the decades long Republican support of free trade, totally flipping what has been a reliable Republican consensus.

 

Trump has single handedly created an American UKIP, an entire political movement that didn’t exist even two months ago. I have to wonder, could a celebrity billionaire with bad hair, who’s been derided as a clown, a bozo, and totally unserious do all that?

He’s already done it, and the 2016 race isn’t going to be anything like what the conventional wisdom could have predicted 2 months ago.

 

Scott Walker: No Amnesty and Limiting Legal Immigration?

I think I’ve enjoyed the Donald Trump Show as much as anyone.  I love his brashness, they way he commands the media, the way he takes control of every interview, and the best part, he never, ever apologizes.  I love the way he infuriates the Republican Party, the establishment Republicans, and most of all, the hated donor class, which has for all intents and purposes wrecked the Republican Party agenda for years.  I hope the Donald Trump Show gets picked up for another season and brings us the laughter and joy that comes from watching media experts get it wrong over and over and watching other politicos squirm.

So as much as I enjoyed the two debates and The Donald’s over the top performance, there was a little noticed bit of news that zeroed in my attention like a laser.  A response to a question to Governor Scott Walker about his change of position on immigration:

“There’s international criminal organizations penetrating our Southern base borders, and we need to do something about it. Secure the border, enforce the law, no amnesty, and go forward with a legal immigration system that gives priority to American working families and wages.”

As Walker made clear on Hannity, “gives priority to American working families and wages” means lower legal immigration. Walker’s immigration position has been slip sliding away from the standard Republican boilerplate of Secure The Border!/also pass amnesty, for several months under the guidance of economic nationalist and immigration guru Senator Jeff Sessions. But this is the first I’ve heard of any sort of definitive statement on a total rejection of Amnesty and actually limiting legal immigration.  However this has made so little news that most people, even those following the campaign closely, might not have picked up on it.

Right now, Walker isn’t really able to capitalize on it because Trump is sucking all of the oxygen out of the room.  Plus, he’s not really a super charismatic guy and I often get him confused with former SNL and 30 Rock actor Chris Parnell

Is this Walker?

Chris Parnell

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or is this Walker?

Scott Walker2

 

 

 

 

 

Who can tell?

With Ted Cruz also recently stating a definitive no on amnesty, this makes quite a difference between this group of candidates and the 2012 crowd, which except for Mitt Romney, all had some sort of amnesty plan, even the “conservatives.”  Why the difference?

I think it’s the Trumpenkreig.

As The Donald continues his long march through the Republican Party’s institutions, burning and pillaging as he goes, he is pushing the Overton Window a bit on immigration issues, making the formally forbidden to speak of (no amnesty) permissible. As I had hoped, Trump is pushing changes in what’s allowable for Republican candidates to say.  Some go overboard, like Mike Huckabee’s crazy statement about Obama holding the oven doors open for Israel. But with both Cruz and Walker just saying no to amnesty, Trump is forcing Republican candidates to stop being mealy mouthed and take a position.

This is good news in my opinion, so I’ll go pop some popcorn (extra butter) and continue enjoying the Donald Trump Show.

Six seasons and a movie.

 

 

 

The Closing of the #Cuckservative Mind

Sometimes, when you hear a new word, it clicks with you because it provides a word that you feel has been missing from the lexicon and has been desperately needed.  Sometimes, you understand the word from the first time you see it, just based on its roots and construction.  And sometimes, a new word sounds so funny that you laugh on first hearing it.

And sometimes it’s all three, which is how I felt when I first saw the word, cuckservative in my twitter feed a few weeks ago.  The fairly obvious roots of it are the words cuckold and conservative.  Cuckold meaning a guy who’s wife cheats on him, and he may end up clueless, raising someone else’s kids or a fetish in which guys get off on watching their wives have sex with other guys, and conservative meaning, “hey you kids, get off my lawn!”

Although the word’s origin go back to over a year ago (on the internet that’s decades) to the 4chan bulletin board.  It seems to have bubbled up lately on twitter and has lead to some hilarious and biting internet memes. As far as a definition goes, there are dozens of them and since none of them are any more official than anyone else’s, I’ll add what I think it means: A conservative who seeks approval from the left and accepts their framing and worldview.

The use of this word has caused a full scale civil war on the internet right.  Well, maybe I shouldn’t say cause, since there has been a civil war on the right for years.  Sometimes it’s a cold war, and sometimes it’s a hot one, like the one the Tea Party has been engaging with the establishment Republicans.  Spoiler alert, but it looks like the establishment won, with the exception of a few dead-enders.  I predict a long period of reconstruction as Tea Partiers are processed through re-education camps.

Insults usually require an element of truth to be effective.  Being called a stinky head scores zero points unless you in fact, have a stinky head.  But that’s why this word has been so effective.  The targets get it, and fight back in ways they just wouldn’t normally do if the word wasn’t hitting the bull’s eye.

Radio talk show host and Fox commentator, Erick Erickson, was one of the early victims and played right into the hands of his enemies.

When you are on the right and are calling other people on the right racists, that plays right into the hands of…the left.  To be fair, a lot of the attacks are coming from racists and white nationalists, but that doesn’t mean that the word is their property.  To try to spin it that way fits in to exactly into my definition of cuckservative.

Daily Caller writer Matt Lewis was another conservative writer (or cuckservative writer if you prefer) who took the word to task for racism, sexism, anti Semitism, and homophobia; the Four Horseman of the Left.  Of course, he did it in the interweb pages of The Daily Beast, not exactly fertile ground for the right, but the perfect place to attack the right in full view of the left, in the hopes of winning their approval.

However the accusations of racism are not without merit, as a scroll through the internet memes for cuckservative make clear. However if you are a conservative target of the cuckservative meme, or a left wing observer; racism is the only point of this slur.  Ahh…to host my own show on MSNBC now!  Not quite an impossible dream considering how they’ve fired and cleared off the air waves of their considerable dead wood lately.  It would be so easy…”Hatepublicans in a Civil War!  The racist base of the party attacking the few moderates with a racist slur!  Is this the Southern Strategy all over again?  When will these hateful old white men die already?”

In real life though, this exposes a real rift on the right that breaks down along a few areas:

Immigration:  The Republican Party Inc. and all of its candidates for President, support some sort of amnesty for illegal aliens.  Oh it’s couched in tough talking avoidance code words like “secure the border” but ultimately the entire party establishment accepts the inevitability of some sort of amnesty for illegal’s already here.  However that is not where the typical Republican primary voter is at.  They don’t want any amnesty, and until it’s taken off the table, it’s a magnet for new illegals. So anxious is the Republican establishment for amnesty that upon Romney’s defeat virtually every Republican who could get near a TV camera blamed the loss solely on Romney’s self deportation remark.  It so defied common sense that the base of the party ended up shaking its head at the stupidity of its leadership.

This goes a long way to explain the “mystery” of Donald Trump, which isn’t really much of a mystery unless you happen to be a cuckservative.

Culture Wars: Conservatives have a pretty clear record of failure from abortion to gay marriage.  Of course, conservatives didn’t start the culture wars.  They’ve been on the defensive since the beginning, but if the culture changes you can’t fix it with politics, but Republican candidates are still running on abortion, over 40 years after Roe v Wade.  No, there will be no rollback on abortion, gay marriage, or anything else so stop acting like if you’re put in office, you’ll change it.

Concentration on Trivia:  The country has big problems, mostly caused by the left, and the Republican establishment acts like the solution is just another tax cut away.  The last time the Republicans had control of both Houses of Congress and the Presidency, they got wars and the first new entitlement program (Medicare Part D) since the Great Society.  Nothing that Republicans actually wanted.  And those tax cuts?  Gone with the wind.  In other words, after Republican rule, the government was bigger, with more regulations, and government programs, than it was before.  The utter uselessness of expending time and effort passing budget resolutions that will promise to balance the budget in ten years when not a single step will ever be made to actually balance the budget no longer looks like a victory for conservatives and instead looks like a dodge.

Meanwhile, the Democrats had real goals.  When Obama came into office, with a Democratic Congress, he began a sweeping series of measures to grow government that lead to what has been a Democratic Party goal for decades, national healthcare.  With Obamacare, he took a major step towards that.  Yet if you asked Republicans what goal has the Republican Party had for decades that that they would like to accomplish, it’s likely that if you asked 10 different Republicans you would get 10 different answers, and all of them would be defensive measures; to roll back some aspect that Democrats have already put in place that they actually have no intention of ever repealing.

Oh and tax cuts.

So if I refer to conservatives who fit the definition of cuckservative and get called a racist for my troubles, who cares?  As someone who has been called a racist more or less continuously since the beginning of the Obama administration because of my principled opposition to stupid Democratic polices, the word has been stretched into meaningless, and constant repetition of it has drained it of meaning.  However if you are the type of conservative who would rather shut up or change your position in a debate because you’re afraid of being called a racist, you might be a cuckservative.

 

Bernie Sanders out Trumps Trump

Democratic candidate and progressive favorite Bernie Sanders had a “conversation” with the liberal talking points website Vox (conversations being what the site calls its interviews) by liberal wunderkind Ezra Klein, who famously claimed that the US Constitution was confusing because it was over 100 years old.

Ah, the liberal intellectual.Bernie Sanders

Most of the interview was fairly boilerplate, with Sanders describing what he means by being a Democratic Socialist, and went through a litany of all the things he would like to regulate, tax, and give away for free.  Pretty standard stuff until the interview hit upon the issue of immigration, and Sanders started making Klein’s head spin.

Ezra Klein: You said being a democratic socialist means a more international view. I think if you take global poverty that seriously, it leads you to conclusions that in the US are considered out of political bounds. Things like sharply raising the level of immigration we permit, even up to a level of open borders. About sharply increasing …

Bernie Sanders: Open borders? No, that’s a Koch brothers proposal.

Ezra Klein: Really?

Bernie Sanders: Of course. That’s a right-wing proposal, which says essentially there is no United States. …

Ezra Klein: But it would make …

Bernie Sanders: Excuse me …

Ezra Klein: It would make a lot of global poor richer, wouldn’t it?

Bernie Sanders: It would make everybody in America poorer —you’re doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don’t think there’s any country in the world that believes in that. If you believe in a nation state or in a country called the United States or UK or Denmark or any other country, you have an obligation in my view to do everything we can to help poor people. What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy. Bring in all kinds of people, work for $2 or $3 an hour, that would be great for them. I don’t believe in that. I think we have to raise wages in this country, I think we have to do everything we can to create millions of jobs.

Heh, a Koch brothers proposal…

Klein was totally unprepared for the thought that Sanders might actually favor some restrictions on immigration.  But Sander’s progressivism isn’t the same as Vox’s or most of the mostly white crowd that’s attracted to the Sanders candidacy. Sanders is an old time class struggle leftist.  He would be much more comfortable with labor rights and issues rather than the identity politics that is required of current Democratic and progressive politics.  That’s why Sanders was so blindsided at the Netroot Nations conference.  He would have been much more comfortable with #workerslivesmatter rather than the #blacklivesmatter, which he was finally browbeat into acknowledging.

But the modern left isn’t concerned with workers (or working for that matter).  They’re trying to reach various identity groups as identity groups.  Jobs are too boring compared with the excitement of sitting in a coffee shop updating your social media with snarky comments.

Sanders old fashioned “protecting American workers” shtick was so unnerving to Vox that they had to publish a rejoinder in praise of open borders and call for supporting a policy that would allow every poor person in the world to come to the US.  They still love Bernie, but they want everyone to know that he’s wrong on this issue.

It’s too bad Vox doesn’t allow comments on it’s articles.  It would be a far more interesting website.

I find it interesting that the two insurgent, non establishment campaigns, even though they are on opposite sides politically, seem to be much closer on the immigration issue than any of the more “mainstream” candidates.  Trump and Sanders both seem to want to put American workers first.  Why does that have to be a fringe position?

 

Jeb Bush is Certifiable

Jeb Bush was in Iowa last week sticking his toe in the water to see if he really could win the general by losing the primary.  I have to give him credit; he’s willing to stick to unpopular positions, even if they are politically toxic.  He reiterated his support for Common Core, which is unpopular with some conservative activists, and opposed renewal fuel standards, which although they are not popular with Republicans in general, are popular in Iowa. So he’s not afraid to run against the grain. But I just can’t, in this or any other parallel universe, imagine Jeb Bush winning the Republican nomination.     Jeb Bush

David Frum wrote a piece in The Atlantic last month describing Bush as a Republican version of Obama in that they have created artificial identities to hide behind.  In Bush’s case, he is from a northeastern WASP family via Texas and now regards himself as an adopted Hispanic, speaking Spanish in the home, converting to Roman Catholicism, and moving to the Capital of Latin America, Miami.   He may be the Republican Obama, but that’s not really his problem.

I don’t think Jeb will be the nominee because:

Last name Bush. Dynasties don’t wear as well with Republicans as they do with Democrats. If Carolyn Kennedy threw her pill box shaped hat in the race, she would have a decent shot because…last name Kennedy. And this is even though she’s an incompetent who blew her chance to be appointed senator by being unable to talk in interviews. Hillary is the Democratic “front runner” now only because of dynasty.

His family is messed up.  His wife isn’t comfortable in English (probably because of the practice of speaking Spanish at home), She also has a shopping problem. All of his kids have been arrested at least once and his daughter was a drug addict.  Not exactly a picture perfect first family.

But the real clincher is that the only national issue Jeb is associated with is amnesty, which is unpopular with the base.  Now of course whoever does end up with the nomination will probably be pro amnesty too since any anti-amnesty candidate won’t be able to get the funds to run. Republican donors are as pro amnesty as Chuck Schumer. But the other candidates will be associated with other issues. Jeb won’t. And on that issue he looks vacillating and contradictory. As I have written about previously, he came out with a book in 2013 about amnesty in which he proposed not offering a path to citizenship. Since he had always supported amnesty with citizenship before, on day 1 of his book tour he was asked why he changed his mind, and he stammered and it turned out he hadn’t changed his mind at all. So the first day of his book tour he disavowed the central premise of the book he was trying to sell. That will come up over and over in 2016.

Of course, what Jeb was hoping for was that by the time 2016 rolled around, amnesty would have been a done deal, and he could have pointed to the book to say, “See? I was opposed to citizenship!” That would place him to the right of the actual policy. I think the odds look poor for that now.

As a governor he wasn’t bad and was pretty tight with the State dollar, however he didn’t have any input in Federal areas like immigration. Frum’s article does make a good case for the similarities between Jeb and Obama, but I think the real take away is that when it comes to immigration, Jeb is certifiable. He seems to have no other passions other than illegal immigrants. And it’s not even a logical obsession.  It’s actually more about preferring Latin Culture and people to the more Anglo variety that Jeb hails from.  How else to explain the illogic of wanting to grant people who illegally cross the border amnesty (who are mostly Hispanic), but deport people who actually entered the country legally, but overstayed their visas (and who are primarily not Hispanic)?   Never has an American politician been so blatant about replacing me and my family with someone else that he likes better. Bush is obviously carrying around some mental issues about his fellow Americans.

The Democrats are far more circumspect than this.

I hate to be one of those, “I’ll never vote for…” types who swear they’ll never vote if McCain/Romney/fill in the blank wins the nomination, but I think Jeb would actually be worse than any conceivable Democrat.  Except maybe Congressman Luis Gutiérrez, and even then, I’m not sure Gutiérrez is as obsessed with illegals as Jeb is.