Kicking Barone While He`s Down
At a time when
everybody knows that everything changed forever
on September 11, it may seem odd to review a book that`s
the epitome of politics-as-was-usual: Michael Barone`s
Almanac of American Politics. Yet, politics has
a way of flowing onward. Recall how the Senate Democrats
made fools of themselves in January of 1991 by voting 45
to 7 to not go to war against Saddam Hussein "in order
to give the sanctions time to work." Well, it`s 2001 now
and the Iraq sanctions are still partly in place and
still haven`t worked. But that didn`t stop the Democrats
from twenty months later winning the Presidency, the
Senate, and the House. Like life, politics goes on.
Last June, when
Barone and the rest of the "open borders" crowd ruled
the airwaves and the column inches almost unopposed, I
devoted a lot of effort to explaining exactly what was
wrong with Barone`s mass immigrationist fantasy
The New Americans. Times have changed, but not
Barone`s mistakes. So now it`s time to kick the man
while he`s down.
This is not to say
anything against Barone`s Almanac in general.
This year`s edition is an amazing book, even from a
bookbinder`s perspective: the brute is 1776 pages long.
Barone takes a
dozen or so pages to profile the geography, economy,
demography, and statewide politics of each of the 50
states. Then, he delivers two or three highly
informative pages on each of America`s 435 Congressional
districts, each of which he has personally visited.
junkies, this is the ultimate resource. For anybody
else, though, it might bring to mind the little girl`s
book report: "This book taught me more about penguins
than I care to know."
Barone is not
unbiased, of course, and there`s the problem. He is best
known for trumpeting two opinions. The first is his
sunny optimism that his beloved Republican Party will
ultimately triumph: "Demography is moving, slowly,
toward the Bush nation," he gloats in the new book.
The second is his
unabashed cheerleading for massive levels of
immigration. How does he attempt to logically reconcile
his two passions?
Well, as far as I
can tell, Barone doesn`t even bother to try.
For example, Barone
enthusiastically reports that my personal
Congressperson, Howard Berman of California`s San
Fernando Valley, is "one of the most aggressive and
creative members of the House – and one of the most
clear-sighted operators in American politics." As
evidence of Berman`s clear-sightedness, Barone recounts
a half dozen battles Berman has waged for more
immigration. I totally agree with Barone on Berman`s
perceptiveness. My Congressman is a bright, logical guy
who knows what`s in his best interest. (The one time I
met Berman, I was a know-it-all 16-year-old and he was
an ambitious young state legislator in California. I
sprang on him an argument I`d been researching for
months for high school debate. He just annihilated my
line of attack.)
There`s only one
logical problem with Barone`s Berman-worship: Barone is
a Republican and Rep. Berman is a Democrat. So, if
Berman is "clear-sighted" to favor more immigration
because it will boost the Democratic Party, what does
that make Barone: Mr. Magoo?
Barone`s bias in
favor of mass immigration leads him into sizable factual
mistakes that he wouldn`t normally make if he weren`t so
emotionally invested in the issue. For example, he
voted 55%-41% for Gore. But most of this margin came in
Hawaii, where Gore won 62% of the Asian majority in the
state. In California, the vote was 49%-48% for Gore, and
Asian voters appear to have been equally divided in the
other 48 states as well."
George Will, who at
least twice this year has churned out columns that are
simply rewrites of Barone`s material, repeated this
canard almost word for word in his May 20th column, "Conservatism
by the Numbers: Looking Up:"
Bush is essentially breaking even with Asian-Americans
in California, where they were 49-48 for Gore, and in 48
other states. Gore`s 55-41 advantage among
Asian-Americans nationally came almost entirely from
This myth is based
a Voter News Service website posting for California
that`s almost certainly wrong, possibly merely a typo.
(You may recall that VNS had a notoriously bad election
in 2000. For example, it first called Florida for Gore,
then for Bush, before finally correctly labeling it too
close to call.)
Barone, who knows
as many election statistics as Bill James knows baseball
statistics, must have understood that his
rationalization that, all by its lonesome, little Hawaii
had distorted the national Asian results was prima facie
nonsense. Hawaii is a tiny state. According to the
Census Bureau`s survey of 50,000 households right after
the 2000 election, Hawaii contributed only 11% of all
Asian voters nationwide. If you exclude Hawaii from the
VNS exit poll numbers, 7th grade math shows that Gore`s
Asian margin falls merely from 55%-41% to 54%-42%.
In contrast to VNS,
the LA Times exit poll reported that Asians
nationally voted 62%-37% for Gore, and California Asians
gave Gore an even bigger 63% to 33% margin over Bush.
I asked Don
Nakanishi, director of the Asian American Studies
program at UCLA, which poll to trust: VNS or the LA
Times? His answer: "The LA Times exit poll is
more sensitive to the difficulties inherent in surveying
ethnically diverse voters."
Two local polls
validated the LA Times` finding of a big
Democratic advantage among California`s Asians. Exit
surveys conducted in Southern California by the Asian
Pacific American Legal Center saw Gore winning among
Asians 62% to 35%. In San Francisco, the Chinese
American Voter Education Committee recorded that
Chinese-Americans there voted 82% to 16% for Gore.
has to work through some deep emotional issues regarding
immigration before Republicans can trust him on the
So what in the
world is Barone talking about when he says "demography"
is on the GOP`s side? He has two arguments, one
laughable, the other intriguing. The first is:
of the Bush nation tend to welcome growth while the
communities of the Gore nation tend to limit it:
California`s culturally conservative Central Valley is
growing faster than the culturally liberal San Francisco
Bay area. … The fastest-growing parts of the United
States are formerly rural counties on the metropolitan
fringe … these counties tend to vote strongly
Well, so what? Does
Barone expect us to believe that the Central Valley`s
soil give off mind-expanding Republican Rays? Is there
some kind of political Valley Fever virus that
automatically Republicanizes the African Americans who
are driven from immigrant-inundated Oakland into the
I`m sorry, but
that`s not how the world works. People take their
politics with them when they move.
Vermont was so famously rock-ribbed Republican that it
voted for Alf Landon in 1936? ("As goes Maine, so goes
Vermont," laughed FDR`s consigliore, Jim Farley.)
Not anymore. "But [Vermont] has been transformed by
newcomers," as Barone rightly notes, "who came here
attracted to its antique look but have transformed its
culture in their own image." Vermont`s Ben and
Jerry`s-scarfing newcomers are, of course, affluent
liberals from New York and other big cities who found
that moving to the whitest state in the Union helped
them avoid doubts about their multiculturalist ideology.
Republican voters driven out of California by
immigration turned states like Idaho into GOP
kind of internal migration is mostly a wash. It just
moves native Republicans and Democrats around; it
doesn`t change their numbers. (It has a minor impact on
the Senate and the Electoral College – because small
states like Vermont and Idaho are more favored under the
Constitution than big states like New York and
California – but this effect is small.) In contrast,
immigration, overall, creates new Democrats.
argument for why the demographic tide is flowing in
favor of the GOP is probably wrong, but at least it`s
not plain stupid. "The Americans of the Bush nation tend
to have more children than the Americans of the Gore
This is a brave
thing to say, but Barone`s not brave enough to state
what he probably really means, which would be,
"Republican whites have more babies than Democratic
whites." I`m glad he`s picked up on this topic that I
wrote about in the first half of last year, in a
VDARE.com piece entitled "Will
Liberals Become Extinct?" In fact, late last year, I
calculated that the 19 states with the highest white
birth rate all voted for Bush.
Yet how important
is this difference in white birth rates? I can`t really
say. With the exception of Utah, which is off the
fecundity charts, the difference in white fertility
between Bush states and Gore states really isn`t huge.
The states where Bush won a majority in 2000 had a 16%
higher birth rate than the states where Gore and Nader
combined won the majority.
Of course, looking
at Bush states vs. Gore states is just an approximation.
The actual difference between Republican and Democrat
fertility is probably somewhat larger, but how big it is
I can`t say. To the best of my knowledge, it has never
been studied. If anyone knows of any data on the
subject, please write me at
Yet even though
Barone is correct about the greater fecundity of Bush`s
white voters, it`s by no means certain that the "Bush
nation" actually is having more children than the "Gore
nation." That`s because birth rates among minorities,
who voted heavily for Gore, are much higher than among
whites. Among babies born in 2000, almost 42% were born
to mothers who aren`t Anglo whites. (To see the U.S.
government`s PDF file with all this data,
Roughly half of
those minority babies were born to Hispanic women.
Hispanics have a birthrate 80% higher than Anglo whites.
The other half of minority babies is black, American
Indian, or Asian/Pacific Islander. All three groups have
birthrates from 20% to 22% greater than Anglo whites.
In 2000, Bush got
over 90% and Gore about 70% of his vote from Anglo
whites. These higher birthrate patterns, when combined
with immigration, however, will tend to gradually
polarize the two parties racially. In a few decades, the
Republicans are likely to be undeniably The White Party
and the Democrats The Nonwhite Party.
Will this be a
appears to be looking forward to this outcome. Perhaps
Barone has a Machiavellian plan in mind to use heavy
immigration to drive whites out of the Democratic Party
and into his Republican Party. I don`t know. It seems
unlikely, but it`s the only logical way to reconcile his
leery of this kind of political polarization along race
lines. It may be inevitable, but shouldn`t we try to
explore ways as a nation to head this off?
Democrats would of
course suggest that the onus is on Republicans to
recruit more nonwhites. They say this because they want
the GOP to commit suicide chasing the chimera of
conservative-voting minorities. As we saw this summer
with Bush`s silly illegal alien amnesty proposal, the
GOP has no practical way to outbid the Democrats for
As I predicted last January,
the only minorities the GOP`s diversity outreach effort
had a good shot at picking up were Arabs and Muslims (by
easing anti-terrorist rules). That ploy has proved a
There is only one
practical way to slow the growth of the racial chasm
that`s opening between the parties: by cutting
immigration. Maybe Barone will manage to face this in
time for his Almanac`s 2004 edition.
[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and