And by “tribes” he quite literally means black and brown people, who he believes are “unnaturally” contaminating America, and who the Republican party should in no way recognize or represent.
To an immigrant such as myself (not the undocumented kind, but documented up to the hilt, alas), one of the most striking features of election-night analysis was the lightly worn racial obsession. On Fox News, Democrat Kirsten Powers argued that Republicans needed to deal with the reality that America is becoming what she called a “brown country.” Her fellow Democrat Bob Beckel observed on several occasions that if the share of the “white vote” was held down below 73 percent Romney would lose. In the end, it was 72 percent and he did. Beckel’s assertion — that if you knew the ethnic composition of the electorate you also knew the result — turned out to be correct.
This is what less enlightened societies call tribalism: For example, in the 1980 election leading to Zimbabwe’s independence, Joshua Nkomo’s ZAPU-PF got the votes of the Ndebele people while Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF secured those of the Shona — and, as there were more Shona than Ndebele, Mugabe won. That same year America held an election, and Ronald Reagan won a landslide victory. Nobody talked about tribal-vote shares back then, but had the percentage of what Beckel calls the “white vote” been the same in 2012 as it was in 1980 (88 percent), Mitt Romney would have won in an even bigger landslide than Reagan. The “white vote” will be even lower in 2016, and so, on the Beckel model, Republicans are set to lose all over again.
When black and brown people vote according to their interests, it’s tribalism, like those savages in Africa. When white people do it, it’s politics.
Everyone talks about this demographic transformation as if it’s a natural phenomenon, like Hurricane Sandy. Indeed, I notice that many of those exulting in the inevitable eclipse of “white America” are the same people who assure me that demographic arguments about the Islamization of Europe are completely preposterous. But in neither the United States nor Europe is it a natural phenomenon. Rather, it’s the fruit of conscious government policy.
According to the Census, in 1970 the “Non-Hispanic White” population of California was 78 percent. By the 2010 census, it was 40 percent. Over the same period, the 10 percent Hispanic population quadrupled and caught up with whites.
That doesn’t sound terribly “natural” does it? If one were informed that, say, the population of Nigeria had gone from 80 percent black in 1970 to 40 percent black today, one would suspect something rather odd and unnatural had been going on. Twenty years ago, Rwanda was about 14 percent Tutsi. Now it’s just under 10 percent. So it takes a bunch of Hutu butchers getting out their machetes and engaging in seven-figure genocide to lower the Tutsi population by a third. But, when the white population of California falls by half, that’s “natural,” just the way it is, one of those things, could happen to anyone.
Steyn is aware that the biggest demographic transformation this country ever faced was the colonizing of this country by white people who then systematically wiped out native populations. That wasn’t exactly “natural.” On the other hand, migration and the movement of peoples has always been a part of human existence. Immigration is not new; migrants have migrated since the beginning of time. Immigrants crossing the border — many to join family members who, it should be noted, live in the United States because the border moved, not because they did — are not Hutus committing ethnic genocide. The last people to commit wholesale ethnic genocide in this country were the white folks Steyn advocates for.
But you can’t really expect him to know that, I suppose, since in his version of history, the Western Hemisphere itself was formed in the 17th century:
The short history of the Western Hemisphere is as follows: North America was colonized by Anglo-Celts, Central and South America by “Hispanics.” Up north, two centuries of constitutional evolution and economic growth; down south, coups, corruption, generalissimos, and presidents-for-life. None of us can know the future. It may be that Charles Krauthammer is correct that Hispanics are natural Republicans merely pining for amnesty, a Hallmark Cinco de Mayo card, and a mariachi band at the inaugural ball. Or it may be that, in defiance of Dr. Krauthammer, Grover Norquist, and Little Mary Sunshine, demographics is destiny and, absent assimilationist incentives this country no longer imposes, a Latin American population will wind up living in a Latin American society. Don’t take it from a right-wing bigot like me, take it from the New York Times. In 2009, Jason DeParle filed a story about suburban Maryland, in which he helpfully explained the municipality of Langley Park to Times readers:
Now nearly two-thirds Latino and foreign-born, it has the aesthetics of suburban sprawl and the aura of Central America. Laundromats double as money-transfer stores. Jobless men drink and sleep in the sun. There is no city government, few community leaders, and little community.
Golly. You’d almost get the impression that Mr. DeParle thinks that laundromats doubling as money-transfer stores, jobless men drinking and sleeping in the sun, and dysfunctional government are somehow characteristic of Central America. That sounds awfully judgmental for a Times man, no?
Well, yeah. It also sounds like someone hasn’t spent all that much time in Central America.
Which isn’t to say that some countries in Central America don’t have serious problems like inefficient and corrupt government and business, and joblessness and economic depression. But many of those problems stem not just from the region’s colonialist past, but from the exploitative business practices of American and European companies and disgraceful political strategies from the very same American presidents that the right regularly lauds.
Republicans think they’re importing hardworking immigrants who want a shot at the American Dream; the Democrats think they’re importing clients for Big Government. The Left is right: Just under 60 percent of immigrants receive some form of welfare. I see the recent Republican proposals for some form of amnesty contain all sorts of supposed safeguards against gaming the system, including a $525 application fee for each stage of the legalization process. On my own recent visit to a U.S. Immigration office, I was interested to be told that, as a matter of policy, the Obama administration is now rubberstamping all “fee waiver” requests for “exceptional hardship” filed by members of approved identity groups. And so it will go for all those GOP safeguards. While Canada and Australia compete for high-skilled immigrants, America fast-tracks an unskilled welfare class of such economic benefit to their new homeland they can’t even afford a couple of hundred bucks for the necessary paperwork.
Stupid lazy immigrants, coming here for a better life and can’t even afford $525 for immigration paperwork. That’s pennies! I mean if you’re getting paid $3.50 an hour to pick crops for Mr. Steyn’s consumption, you only have to do 150 hours of backbreaking labor to afford that fee. Get with it, immigrants. And don’t go asking for a handout, like “heath care” for your sick baby. Get to work!
Or, if the Mark Steyn branch of GOP has any say, simply cease to exist.
- Brown is the new black, and Ann is the new David Duke by Jill April 13, 2006
- Boycotting Arizona by Jill April 27, 2010
- What Racism Looks Like by Jill March 7, 2013
- Look! Black People Are Totally Racist Too! by Tasha Fierce July 20, 2010
- sex (with a married woman) = greencard by Anne March 21, 2008