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National Journal's Ronald Brownstein Confirms Sailer Strategy
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush was at it again last week, urging the GOP to amnesty illegals in the middle of a recession, ostensibly to appeal to Hispanics who aren't going to vote for the GOP anyway. Obviously, the only conceivable beneficiaries of this suicidal step would be the employers of cheap labor (until the Hispanics bring Latin American socialism with them) and the now partially-Hispanic Bush dynasty itself.
To gauge how staggeringly stupid, or darkly disingenuous, this sort of Hispandering is, we need to get back to the seminal article White Flight by veteran centrist pundit Ronald Brownstein, published in the January 8, 2011 edition of National Journal, a magazine for politics professionals.
"By any standard, white voters' rejection of Democrats in November's elections was daunting and even historic. … In no previous exit poll had Republicans reached 60 percent of the white vote in House races."
What's important here isn't the news, which won't be terribly new to VDARE.com readers. We've been saying for a long time that the Republicans' most practical route to victory is not outreach to unappeasable minorities, but inreach to its own, white, base—VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow insists on calling this the"Sailer Strategy"—and, furthermore, that this was how the GOP was winning elections, for example in 2002, 2004 and 2010. Brownstein just confirms that.
What was new about Brownstein's article, however, is the metanews: the concept of "the white vote" is becoming a part of the conventional vocabulary.
As I've been pointing out for, roughly, ever: that development is an inevitable product of the much-celebrated demographic transformation of America.
It's just Game Theory 101. When whites were the vast majority of voters, talking about "the white vote" at the national level was almost as pointless as talking about the "carbon-based life form vote." As whites slowly drop toward minority status, however, political operators will (at least in private) start to think about whites in roughly the same way that they have traditionally thought aboutminority voting blocs.
Consider an example from across space rather than time: Even today, local political consultants in New Hampshire or Idaho don't often wonder amongst themselves how big the white turnout will be. But they do in Mississippi and New Mexico.
If you find the racial politics of diverse states more unseemly than the non-racial politics of highly white states, well, perhaps you should have thought of that before starting America down the path toward being New Mexico.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Brownstein's article was left more implied than explicit:
"The Hispanic vote for Democrats in House races slipped to 60 percent, compared with about two-thirds for Obama in 2008 … Meanwhile, Republicans, with their 60 percent showing, notched the party's best congressional result among white voters in the history of modern polling."
Which would you rather have: 60 percent of the Hispanic vote or 60 percent of the white vote? Which is an order of magnitude more significant?
(This would actually be a trick question for much of the MainStream Media, which has devoted endless column inches to the Latino Supervote. For the MSM's benefit: according to CNN's exit poll, Hispanics cast about 8%, that's e-i-g-h-t p-e-r c-e-n-t of the total votes in House races in 2010. Whites cast 77%—an order of magnitude larger)
Brownstein's National Journal bought the raw 2010 from the Edison-Mitofsky exit poll exit poll data and cross-tabbed it (as I did with the long-lost 2002 exit poll data). Now, we can't trust exit poll data for Hispanics all that much (as we saw in 2004, when the exit people ultimately had to retract their assertions about the Latino vote). Still, it's fascinating that after endless pronouncements in the MSM about how Republicans were dooming themselves in November by supporting the Arizona immigration law, it turns out that the GOP did fair to middling among Hispanic voters.
The unspoken reality: immigration is not that important an issue to Hispanic voters—certainly not anything like as important as it is to would-be Hispanic leaders. Moreover, Hispanics are very seldom thought-leaders in America. So their voting behavior tends to drift along parallel to the trends among whites, just systematically to the left.
Brownstein's article suggested that to win re-election Obama will need to double down on his old high-low strategy of appealing to minorities and fashion-conscious white women. But were Obama's attempts to rally Latinos in the week before the 2010 election, such as his "punish our enemies" demand, truly of net benefit to him? Or did they just alienate more white voters?
In contrast, David Axelrod, who might be described as Obama's Karl Rove, told Brownstein that the Administration's strategy will be, in effect, to try to make whites forget about 2009 and 2010 and act like it's 2008—or, ideally, 2004. Obama will be, once again, the new blank slate for everybody to project their fantasies upon:
"Over the next two years, Axelrod added, Obama will return more consistently to other themes from his celebrated 2004 Democratic convention speech and his 2008 campaign, such as overcoming partisan divisions, reforming Washington, and molding government's 'important but limited role' in American life. 'We have to reclaim our fundamental message equities from 2008, Axelrod says. The issues we'll burnish are ones that will resonate better with some of these [disaffected white]voters, because we'll have an opportunity to choose them.'"
Maybe this will work. But it obviously failed badly in 2010. So is Obama doomed in 2012?
Of course not. He won pretty easily in 2008. And the population will indeed be (slightly) more minority next year, thanks to immigration and differential birthrates.
If the GOP wants to make 2012 different from 2008, it must try to nominate a good candidate for a change.
Republican Congressmen could also use their control of the House to mount hearings into wedge issues like an anti-unemployment immigration moratorium or the Obama Administration's steady push for more implicit racial quotas. What's more "job-killing" than "sending a sharp warning to employers nationwide" overyet another manifestation of disparate impact?
Of course, this will require courage. It's not good news that the House GOP leadership wants to proceed cautiously with its immigration hearings.
Brownstein's crosstabs show that the big divide in American politics is racial. In contrast to the 60% white vote for the GOP, among minorities, 73 percent voted Democratic. Brownstein wrote:
"From every angle, the exit-poll results reveal a new color line: a consistent chasm between the attitudes of whites and minorities."
But is this color line "new"? The split is very similar to 2002, when Republicans got 59 percent of the white vote and only 23 percent of everybody else. What is "new" is that National Journal is now talking about it.
Most white subgroups, Brownstein found, voted more or less alike in 2010. A caption on the article claims:
"Previously unreleased results from the 2010 exit polls show a stark gap between whites and minorities and a smaller but still significant difference between blue- and white-collar whites."
But that's overplaying the differences Brownstein found among the whites. As Kevin MacDonald has noted, what's most striking are the similarities among college-graduate and blue collar whites groups. Brownstein writes:
"… noncollege whites preferred Republicans by nearly 2-to-1 with virtually no gender gap: White working-class women--the so-called waitress moms--gave Republicans almost exactly as many of their votes as blue-collar men did. … College-educated white men backed Republican House candidates and registered negative views of Obama's job performance as overwhelmingly as blue-collar whites did."
Even college-educated white women, a fashion-forward segment who had given a majority to Obama in 2008, voted 55-43 Republican in 2010.
My technical comment: Brownstein should have looked at more important demographic distinctions among whites, especially the marriage gap, which far outweighs the more celebrated "Gender Gap". Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg's crosstab of the 2004 exit polls found that George W. Bush carried merely 44% of the single white females, but 61% of the married white women—a 17 point difference.
Also, Brownstein should have used his access to crosstabs and state-level data to look specifically into whether statistician Andrew Gelman's finding in his 2008 book Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor Statestill holds.
Gelman made an important observation about the regional differences that cause political discussions of"elites" to be incoherent. In expensive Democratic states, the more elite the whites, the more liberal they tend to be. In New Haven, CN, for example, compare the whites on the Yale faculty to the other whites on the fire department, such as Frank Ricci.
But in less expensive states, downscale whites tend to be more Democratic than upscale whites. The 2009 hit movie The Blind Side, for which Sandra Bullock won an Oscar, provided a rare sympathetic portrayal of a white family at the top of the social ladder in Mississippi. Everybody they know is either a well-to-do Republican or a promising black athlete.
This pattern is likely to have remained true in 2010. Brownstein noted:
"Democratic Senate candidates carried a majority of white voters in just seven races and reached 45 percent of the vote in only two more. Except for West Virginia, those states were all near an ocean (or, in Hawaii's case, in one)."
Brownstein went on to show how far apart white and minority voters are in their opinions—see graphic here.
(I'm less convinced than Brownstein is, however, that articulated opinions are hugely important in determining how people vote. In general, I suspect that allegiances are more fundamental, with opinions being adopted to justify them, rather than vice-versa.)
"The new data show that white voters … registered deep disappointment with President Obama's performance, hostility toward the cornerstones of the current Democratic agenda, and widespread skepticism about the expansive role for Washington embedded in the party's priorities. On each of those questions, minority voters expressed almost exactly the opposite view from whites."
For example, regarding Obama's performance:
"Exactly 75 percent of minority voters said they approved; only 22 percent said they disapproved. Among white voters, just 35 percent approved of the president's performance, while 65 percent disapproved."
"Minorities were almost exactly twice as likely as whites to say that life would be better for the next generation than for their own; whites were considerably more likely to say that it would be more difficult."
As Alternative Right's Richard Spencer quips in reply: "Both might be right".
(But again, I'm not as impressed by this last question about the future as Brownstein. This question is biased by the previous questions. Voters rationalize their votes by making broad—but cost-free—claims about the future. Supporters of the party in power typically put on a brave face for exit pollsters while fans of the out party proclaim the end is nigh. For example, in the 2006 exit poll, across all races 79 percent of Republican voters claimed the U.S. was going in the right direction, while 78 percent of Democrats disagreed.)
Brownstein was also wowed by ideological differences between the races:
"And on a question measuring bedrock beliefs about the role of government, the two racial groups again registered almost mirror-image preferences. Sixty percent of minorities said that government should be doing more to solve problems; 63 percent of whites said that government is doing too many things that would be better left to businesses and individuals."
He then offers some amateur psychoanalysis:
"The irony in these results is that minorities expressed more faith in both the future and the government than whites did, even though the recession has hit minority communities harder.Rodolfo de la Garza [Email him]… says that part of the explanation is that whites found the downturn more psychologically wrenching … More minority workers hold marginal positions in the private economy, he says, so they were less likely to be shocked by the severity of the downturn."
Oh yeah? If minorities were so skeptical and perceptive about the future course of the economy, why are so many in foreclosure?
A likelier theory: minorities simply tend to be less successful at creating wealth in the private sector, so they are more inclined to favor taking from the private sector and giving to the public sector.
But the catastrophic success of George W. Bush's White House Conference on Increasing Minority Homeownership at liberating financiers like Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide from traditional credit standards in the name of fighting racial inequality makes clear that both parties remain inclined to high-low strategies that unleash the rich upon the middle in the name of minorities. How many Republicans have publicly repudiated Bush's actions?
Finally, how much does economic ideology merely serve to justify partisan team affiliation? If you are the fan of an NFL team, is it because you admire your team's strategy? Alternatively, is it because they are your team, the one that you started rooting for because people close to you rooted for them?
The importance of race in political partisanship doesn't make much sense under the conventional wisdom that race is only a matter of skin color. In fact, of course, race is actually a matter of self-identification, of who your relatives are by blood and marriage and whom your descendents are likely to be. Examined from that perspective, a correlation between race and voting is inevitable.
Will the MSM's slow acceptance of the term "white vote" mean that issues of importance to real live white people, such as immigration, will be open for discussion?
Probably not. The press constantly nags Hispanic voters to become more racially resentful, but any thought that turnabout might be fair play is crimethink. The primary mode of thinking in political life remains, as Lenin suggested, "Who? Whom?" The press implores Latinos to vote in a racialist manner not because racial voting is good or bad in the abstract, but because Latinos are a minority, so, by definition, racial voting is good in their case.
In fact, the most likely outcome is that the MSM's dawning awareness of the white vote will result in more demands that whites prove themselves to minorities by bending over backwards.
"This irony leads me to conclude that the phenomenon Peter and Steve describe bodes quite poorly for White America. As the White vote—particularly the White, male vote—becomes more and more reliable, the Republican Party (as it's currently constituted) would seemingly become less and less likely to do anything on White people's behalf, like halt mass immigration."
Is this true? White guys are indeed often pushovers, politically speaking, because they tend to be good team players. They want to see their team win. And because, as white guys like to say, there is"no 'I' in 'team'", they aren't as likely to ask their self-appointed political leaders the essential question of all politics: "Hey, what's in it for me and mine?"
But, again as Kevin MacDonald has pointed out, despite all the intimidation, whites have been forming"implicit communities"—gathering themselves together while disavowing, consciously, any racial motive. MacDonald observes that "the granddaddy of implicit white communities is the Republican Party"—and the phenomenon is even more visible in the Tea Parties.
The first step toward ending whites' streak of self-destructive idealism has to be awareness … self-awareness.
Fool me once—shame on you.
[Steve Sailer (email him) is movie critic for The American Conservative. His websitewww.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.]