Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Demography in America

Michael Barone does what he does best.

Discussions - 5 Comments

Barone: The result is that these Coastal Megalopolises are increasingly a two-tiered society, with large affluent populations happily contemplating (at least until recently) their rapidly rising housing values, and a large, mostly immigrant working class working at low wages and struggling to move up the economic ladder. The economic divide in New York and Los Angeles is starting to look like the economic divide in Mexico City and São Paulo.

Great! Well I for one can't wait to live in a first world country with third world economic stratification in the major cities. Cheap serfs for everyone! Let's pass that amnes.. er .. comprehensive immigration reform.

What's now in store is a shifting of political weight from a small Rust Belt which leans Democratic and from the much larger Coastal Megalopolises, where both secular top earners and immigrant low earners vote heavily Democratic, toward the Interior Megalopolises, where most voters are private-sector religious Republicans but where significant immigrant populations lean to the Democrats.


I am shocked! to discover that immigrants vote Democratic. Can somebody CC the leadership of the Stupid Party and let them in on the secret?

The Republican are writing their own death ticket. The question is, "Do they realize it?"

2: John, about the blindness of the GOP "suits" on immigration: These people contend that Hispanics and Asians are "natural Republicans" because they work hard and have family values. It's pretty meaningless. Unionized working-class whites often (not always) work hard, and often have strong family values too. The same can be said of many in the liberal cultural elite! Valuing one's family is much like valuing one's job, or one's car, or one's health -- or, for that matter, one's football team. It has no political and little cultural significance. Neither does "hard work." Working hard is simply functional behavior. It is not indicative of most other values, let alone of the rudiments of any given political vision. There is no reason why a firm believer in welfare statism wouldn't work hard, although it's true that many happen not to. "Hard-working," "love their families," and the like are simply pablum phrases that politicians -- GWB especially -- use to make themselves less objectionable to voters who might fear whatever ideas they have. In a badly fragmented society, they're also a way of pretending that we're really united.
Politicians who rely in such phrases are walking on eggshells, not communicating anything real.

In the case of Hispanics, "family values" does not even translate into lower rates of illegitimacy, etc., nor does "hard-working" translate into belief in limited government, or even a notably serious approach to education -- look at the dropout rates.
Even Hispanics who are in some sense socially conservative -- e.g., pro-life -- don't necessarily vote that way, nor would they necessarily vote that way if they knew that the Barbara Boxers and the Schmuck Schumers are 100 percent pro-choicers.

This kind of sentimentalist talk has been rightly dismissed as "refried Emma Lazarus." Many people project a 100-year-old, and perhaps idealized, image or memory of their own immigrant ancestors onto the mass of today's immigrants. It's nice, but wrong intellectually for several reasons. Those reasons have as much to do with the nature of today's American society as with the statistical patterns among (I don't say: the nature of) today's immigrants.

When a politician uses these themes more than he needs to, it's a pretty good indication that he doesn't understand the immigration crisis, or the assimilation crisis. And that's probably still the large majority of politicians, even in the GOP.

Good analysis by Barone, with one large hole. Regions don't vote. People do. To say that Republican regions or states are gaining votes, while Democratic ones are losing, begs this question: Are those regions remaining as Republican as they have been? For instance, political trends in growing Colorado and growing Nevada, and to some extent in growing Arizona, actually seem to be against the GOP,
as traditional "Westerners" are swamped by Californians and Hispanics.
I suspect we can't even count on growing Texas, let alone Florida, in the long run. While it's nice that New York is continuing to lose electoral votes, that means it's also losing House seats, and if those House seats are in relatively Republican upstate New York, as I suspect they are, does that really help us? What of the non-trendy red states that are also experiencing relative population loss?
(In fairness, Barone does allude to the latter point, but he doesn't make much of it.)

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