Even If Immigration Continues, The Sailer Strategy Could Still Win It For The GOP In 2050

The central question about the long-term future of the Republican Party is—does the Republican Party have a future?

The demographic changes unleashed by post-1965 immigration policies inexorably work to benefit Democrats, as Peter Brimelow and Ed Rubenstein pointed out in their National Review cover story Electing a New People back in1997. (Those were the days! After William F. Buckley purged the magazine of patriotic immigration reformers, Brimelow and Rubenstein updated their analysis in the Hudson Institute`s magazine American Outlook in 2000.)

Brimelow and Rubenstein made three points:

  1. a static point: in American politics, race is destiny—the races vote systematically differently and these differences are very slow to change;

  2. a dynamic point: the major parties` share of the overall vote sways back and forth according to political conditions, and the proportion they get of each race`s vote sways back and forth in parallel (but the differences between the races remain roughly the same);

  3. an immigration point: immigration policy is shifting America`s racial balance toward minorities, and therefore the ability of the Republican Party to win national elections is being steadily reduced.

Brimelow and Rubenstein`s conclusion in 1997: the GOP should move to cut off immigration.

Instead, under George W. Bush, the GOP did exactly the opposite, although Bush`s amnesty efforts ultimately failed.

Nevertheless, the trend that Brimelow and Rubenstein identified was undeniable. Thus, according to the gold standard Census Bureau survey of more than 50,000 households immediately after each election, the non-Hispanic white share of the vote declined slowly from 84.9 percent in 1988 to 79.2 percent in 2004.

Then the white share fell off a cliff, down to 76.3 percent in 2008.

Here are the details:

Share of Votes Cast

2000

2004

2008

Whites

80.7%

79.2%

76.3%

Blacks

11.5%

11.0%

12.1%

Hispanics

5.4%

6.0%

7.4%

Asians

1.8%

2.3%

2.5%

Others

0.6%

1.5%

1.7%

The reason for this sudden slump: turnout. In 2008, minorities surged to the polls to vote for Obama. Simultaneously, white turnout as a share of white adult citizens was down from the level of 2004.

Not surprisingly, the black turnout rate as a share of eligible black voters was up from 60 to 65 percent. But even more interestingly, other minorities, who are less politicized than blacks, were excited by Obama`s candidacy too. Among citizens, Asian turnout was up from 45 to 47 percent of eligible Asian voters, and Hispanic turnout increased from 47 to 50 percent of eligible Hispanic voters.

Here are the details:

Turnout

2000

2004

2008

Whites

61.8%

67.2%

66.1%

Blacks

56.9%

60.3%

65.2%

Hispanics

45.1%

47.2%

49.9%

Asians

43.3%

44.6%

47.0%

The more marginal white voters tend to vote Republican if they get motivated enough to show up at the polls. The opposite is true for the more marginal minority voters—they tend to vote Democratic.

The details

GOP Share

2000

2004

2008

Whites

54%

58%

55%

Blacks

8%

11%

4%

Hispanics

35%

40%

31%

Asians

41%

44%

35%

At a conceptual level, there are two ways the GOP can stay alive:

Oh, wait, that has been the strategy of George W. Bush, Karl Rove and John McCain. How`s that working out, by the way?

But there is an alternative, more obvious strategy that hasn`t been widely discussed:

  • The GOP could raise white turnout and win a larger share of the white vote.

Of course this means the GOP would have to advocate (and then perhaps actually implement) policies that, you know, do something for its natural (white) base.

The obvious example: cutting immigration. This would not merely benefit whites by, for example, reducing workplace competition, but it would also (whaddya know) halt the immigration-driven demographic deterioration in the GOP`s electoral position.

It`s so rational that it apparently can`t be discussed in respectable Beltway circles.

VDARE.COM calls strategy #2 the “Sailer Strategy”.  

Even before the Supreme Court handed George W. Bush the 2000 election, I pointed out in VDARE.com: GOP Future Depends on Winning Larger Share of the White Vote.

“If Dubya had garnered 57% instead of just 54% of whites, he would have cruised to an Electoral College landslide of 367 to 171.”

Despite all the subsequent hogwash from Karl Rove about his minority outreach strategy, the plain albeit unreported fact was that the GOP triumphs in 2002 and 2004 followed this game plan. GOP House candidates won 59 percent of the white vote in the 2002 off year election and Bush took 58 percent in the Presidential election of 2004.

However, the Republicans` relatively strong showings among whites in those two elections were driven much less by any coherent platform intended to benefit the base than by post-9/11 appeals to their patriotism. My analysis of the lost 2002 exit poll results showed that:

“Whites were more interested in foreign-affairs issues than blacks or Hispanics. One out of five whites said the issue that mattered most in determining their votes was either terrorism or Iraq, compared to one out of ten Hispanics, and one out of 25 blacks.”

By 2006, though, the Bush-Rove-McCain Grand Strategy of

  • Invite the World
  • Invade the World
  • In Hock to the World

was running out of gas. And, in 2008, the Housing Bubble inflated by Bush`s 2002 plan to win over Hispanic voters by creating 5.5 million more minority homeowners via debauching traditional credit standards backfired catastrophically.

In 2006 in California, 56 percent of all home purchase mortgage dollars had gone to minorities. And in the subsequent mortgage meltdown, minorities accounted for the great bulk of defaulted dollars in California. A study by economists at the San Francisco Federal Reserve of 239,101 mortgages issued in California during the Housing Bubble reported:

“We also find that race has an independent effect on foreclosure even after controlling for borrower income and credit score. In particular, African American borrowers were 3.3 times as likely as white borrowers to be in foreclosure, whereas Latino and Asian borrowers were 2.5 and 1.6 times respectively more likely to be in foreclosure as white borrowers.”[ Lending in Low- and Moderate-Income Neighborhoods in California:The Performance of CRA Lending During the Subprime Meltdown,by Elizabeth Laderman and Carolina Reid, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, November 26, 2008]

In other words, the Republican Establishment wasted eight years, while the party`s position was deteriorating demographically because of mass immigration, on minority outreach programs like tacitly encouraging illegal immigration and bad borrowing.

The result of all this cleverness was that the GOP was in even worse shape going into the 2008 election. Add in well-deserved blame for economic collapse and McCain`s themeless and politically correct campaigning, and Obama unsurprisingly won 365-173 in the Electoral College.

As I`ve shown above, McCain`s share of the white vote, 55 percent, was relatively weak, and white turnout was down.

Worse, in terms of the Electoral College, white Republican voters were over-concentrated in Great Plains, Great Basin, and Southern states.

But I`ve built the same kind of Electoral College model as I did in 2000. This time, it shows McCain could have eked out a 271-267 victory if he had gotten just five more percentage points of the white vote in each state—and if whites had showed up at the polls at the same rate as in 2004.

With just those two changes, McCain would have picked up Florida, Indiana, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia.

It`s striking that one can even dream up a path to victory for a candidate as feckless as John McCain was in 2008!

Recently, the bloggers Cold Equations and One STDV looked at the Census Bureau`s 2050 population projections, and in effect tried to update the 1997 Brimelow-Rubenstein forecast of the partisan tilt of the playing field in the 2048 and 2052 Presidential elections, assuming the GOP garners the same share of the vote within each race as in this decade. Upon that base, I built a model with a few more factors, such as age and citizenship differences.

The result: If—as in some time-loop nightmare—we just refought the 2008 election over and over, mere demographic change alone would propel the Democrats from 53 percent last year to 59 percent by mid-century.

That is, if the GOP keeps doing what it did in 2008, the country will become a more or less one-party regime—just like the President`s chosen hometown of Chicago. And that might be the best case scenario. Think Detroit. Or New Orleans.

And yet the GOP`s plight is not hopeless. Looking at my statistical model of the 2048-2052 elections: if

  1. the GOP`s share of the white vote grows from 55 percent to 70 percent; and

  2. white turnout returns to the level seen in 1992 (during Ross Perot`s insurgent run),

then, all else being equal, GOP candidates would still win in the middle of the 21st century.  The party would get a 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent majority in the popular vote in 2052.

To put that in current perspective, about one third of Obama`s white voters would have had to switch to Republican by 2052.

That certainly wouldn`t be easy.

But does anybody have a better plan? (Other than an immigration moratorium NOW?)

In future columns, I will examine how it can be done.

[Steve Sailer (email him) is movie critic for The American Conservative. His website www.iSteve.blogspot.com features his daily blog. His new book, AMERICA`S HALF-BLOOD PRINCE: BARACK OBAMA`S "STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE", is available here.]