November 20, 2002
SHOULD WE SOW THE WIND?:
Could the GOP win in California?
(Steve Sailer, Vdare)
In 2002 Simon ran away from the three vote-winning but subsequently-trifled with National Question initiatives (against illegal immigration, racial quotas, and bilingual education) that former Governor Wilson had endorsed to his political profit.
The legend has grown that the California electorate is now so Hispanicized that true Republicans have no chance. Harold Myerson writes the same article making this point over and over, most recently in the November 18 American Prospect Magazine. The take-home lesson is supposed to be: any attempt to motivate white voters will be massively punished by the supposedly huge number of Hispanic voters.
This is certainly truer than in America as a whole, yet, in this election, whites made up 76% of California's electorate. That's the basic reason Simon came so close--despite being crushingly outspent by Davis.
Mr. Sailer is undoubtedly right here--the GOP could pick off an election here or there, maybe even win a cycle or two, by reverting to hardcore nativism. But at what cost to the Party's soul and at what future expense with minority voters as they become the majority? Even if we agree with the him on the three issues he's selected--personally I agree with the latter two--such a campaign is necessarily about tone and atmospherics more than anything else. The appeal is not to narrow legalistic reason but to deep-seated racial animus. Is even beating Gray Davis worth creating a miasma of hatred between Anglos and immigrants?
Posted by Orrin Judd at November 20, 2002 5:36 PM
I'm sorry everybody, Simon lost because he had an absolute dearth of ideas, at least ideas he shared with the electorate.
many conservative issues resonate strongly with otherwise Democratic voters, ie:vouchers and strengthening English immersion by perhaps offering it to parents.
None of this was part of Simon's campaign.
No ideas, lose election. Simon learned the same lesson the National Democratic Party did.
Let us first stipulate that virtually all conservatives agree in their opposition to Mr. Sailer's final two examples -- racial quotes and bilingual education. Yet the first -- opposition to illegal
immigration -- is enough to warrant all this ugly rhetorical violence? Courting white voters by endorsing simple enforcement of laws is now "hardcore nativism" and "deep-seated racial animus"? Orrin writes, "such a campaign [centered on opposing illegal immigration] is necessarily about tone and atmospherics more than anything else." No. It is about addressing the catastrophic failure of a crucial element of our national security policy. It is disgraceful that conservatives would resort to the kind of smear tactics so common among our opponents on the Left to shut down debate on immigration policy at precisely the moment when the failures of said policy are so glaring and destructive. If forced to choose, I think we'll have to go with nativists over the idiots and charlatans who let Hani Hanjour
and John Lee Malvo into this country in direct contravention of both law and national interest.
Illegalizing immigration seems to me nothing more than an example of pulling the drawbridge up once you're in the castle. I'd screen for convicts, whackos and political undesirables, but other than that, let 'em come.
And if I disagree, I am a nativist?