Stephen Webster, American Renaissance, October 2004
Samuel T. Francis, Ethnopolitics: Immigration, Race, and the American Political Future, Representative Government Press, 2003, 62 pp.
There have been many books and articles about the influence of mass non-white immigration on the American economy, culture, and even the national identity, but relatively few about its impact on politics. In his latest monograph, syndicated columnist and frequent AR contributor Samuel Francis explains how race and immigration are altering the American political landscape.
There have been more than 30 million immigrants since 1970, and both political parties are trying to appeal to these newcomers, even at the expense of abandoning previous positions and constituencies. The Democrats were the first to become dependent on non-whites. Since the 1960s, blacks in particular have voted Democratic overwhelmingly — in the 2000 presidential election, Democrats got 90 percent of the black vote. Because they are so dependent on blacks, Democrats must treat people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton with respect. Hispanics are not quite so loyal to the Democratic Party — they give it about two thirds of their votes — but the increasing influence of Hispanics in the Democratic Party accounts for across-the-board support among party leaders for a full amnesty for illegal aliens, bilingual education, voting rights for immigrants, etc.
“The irony of these patterns of racial and Hispanic immigrant voting,” Dr. Francis writes, “is that, while the Democrats have become in many respects the prisoner of the black and Hispanic racial minorities on whom they are dependent for political success, the Republicans have become no less dependent on a strategy and ideology that seek to attract the same minorities, even though they have been unable to attract very many to their ranks.”
Whereas the Democrats really do need non-whites, the Republicans — Dr. Francis’s Stupid Party — only think they do. As Dr. Francis explains, this is because Republicans failed to understand the political appeal of immigration reform after California’s 1994 vote on Proposition 187. This ballot initiative was to deny public benefits, including education, to illegal aliens. They myth inside the Beltway is that support for the initiative killed the Republican Party in California, a state that had once been critical to it in national elections. Until 2000, no Republican had ever won the White House without taking California.
The reality is that Prop. 187 passed overwhelmingly, with 59 percent of the vote statewide, and enjoyed majority support among every ethnic group except Hispanics (nearly a quarter of whom also voted for it). GOP governor Pete Wilson, who had been written off politically prior to embracing 187, won with 55 percent of the vote, and the Republicans picked up four congressional seats in California, which helped them take control of Congress for the first time in nearly 50 years.
Any but the stupidest of parties would have realized immigration was a winning issue, but as Dr. Francis points out, there were many Republican functionaries and propagandists — the so-called neoconservatives — who were already beholden to the Open Borders lobby. When GOP presidential candidate Robert Dole lost to President Clinton in 1996, the neoconservatives claimed it was the smoldering resentment of alienated Hispanics, and not Sen. Dole’s lackluster campaign, that cost them the election. They pointed out that Sen. Dole received just 21 percent of the Hispanic vote, compared to Ronald Reagan’s 37 percent in 1984. This interpretation of Prop. 187 is so wrong-headed it approaches the perverse.
Hispanic vs. Southern Strategy
What really cost Sen. Dole the 1996 election was that he won only 46 percent of the white vote. Although today’s Republicans are loathe to admit it, they cannot win anywhere without a solid majority of whites. Earlier generations of Republican strategists understood this simple fact, first enunciated by Sen. Barry Goldwater in 1961, when he told an audience in Atlanta that, “We’re not going to get the Negro vote as a bloc in 1964 and 1968, so we ought to go hunting where the ducks are.” The ducks were mainly in the South, and this was the origin of the so-called Southern Strategy, employed by the GOP in its winning presidential campaigns from 1968 to 1988. The strategy, writes Dr. Francis, “consisted of appealing to whites, in the South as well as among ethnic, largely Roman Catholic, and working class voters in the urban and suburban Northeast, by invoking patriotic, moralistic, and religious values and social concerns about rising crime rates, eroding public morality, and the apparent inability or unwillingness of the Democratic leadership to control or stop such trends.”
“The Republican appeal to white voters,” Dr. Francis continues, “also included what was at least subliminally an explicit racial appeal, a subtle message that, while not overtly stigmatizing blacks or inciting racial antagonism, played on existing white anxieties about blacks.” When Republicans made racial appeals, they won. When they did not, as in 1976, 1992, and 1996, they lost. Dr. Francis believes George W. Bush made a weak racial appeal in 2000 by refusing to apologize for speaking at Bob Jones University and by vetoing a hate crimes bill passed by the Texas legislature. Because it was a weak appeal, he won only 54 percent of the white vote and lost the popular vote to Al Gore (in the five presidential elections won by the GOP since 1972 it has won an average of 60 percent of the white vote).
Still, by 2000, the Hispanic Strategy had become the official GOP party line, as Dr. Francis demonstrates with the following quotes. Republican pollster Lance Tarrance: “We have now moved from the Southern strategy we pursued for the last three decades, since Richard Nixon, to a Hispanic strategy for the next three decades.” Presidential advisor Karl Rove: The Southern strategy is an “old paradigm” that “past GOP candidates had employed in a calculated bid to polarize the electorate and put together a predominantly white majority.” Republican operative Ralph Reed: “This is a very different party from the party that sits down on Labor Day and cedes the black vote and cedes the Hispanic vote, and tries to drive its percentage of the white vote over 70 percent to win an election.”
But does the Hispanic Strategy work? Republicans first made overt appeals to Hispanic voters in statewide elections in California in the late 90s. They failed. George W. Bush made Hispanic outreach a key part of his campaign in 2000, often speaking in Spanish and running advertisements on Spanish-language radio and television stations. He won only 31 percent of the Hispanic vote, about what Republicans usually get, and only a few percentage points more than the number of California Hispanics who voted for Prop. 187! In the current presidential campaign, Pres. Bush is once again pandering to Hispanics. He has a group called Viva Bush doing Hispanic outreach, runs Spanish-language television ads featuring the Mexican and other Latin American flags, and even delivered a few lines of his convention acceptance speech in Spanish. Yet polls show him only attracting about 32 percent of the Hispanic vote. Blacks, of course, are breaking for Sen. John Kerry by nine to one, and non-whites as a whole by three to one.
“In almost all cases, then, since 1994, the results of every real political test of the Hispanic strategy have been the same,” Dr. Francis writes: abysmal failure. However, when Republicans run on immigration restriction, they win, as did Pete Wilson in 1994. When they run on pro-immigration platforms, as did Robert Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000, they lose (at least the popular vote). “For all the rhetoric of the ‘new Republicans’ about wooing non-whites,” writes Dr. Francis, “the lesson of the 2000 election and every other recent election for the GOP ought to be clear: Trying to win non-whites, especially by abandoning issues important to white voters, while neglecting, abandoning, or alienating whites is the road to political suicide; the natural and logical strategy of the Republican Party in the future is to seek to maximize its white vote as much as possible.”
To illustrate this point, Dr. Francis cites UPI and Vdare.com correspondent Steve Sailer’s analysis of the 2000 election. George W. Bush won just 54 percent of the white vote in one of the closest elections in US history. Had he won 57 percent of the white vote (George H. W. Bush won 59 percent in 1988 with the help of the famous Willie Horton ad), the election would have been an electoral college landslide for Mr. Bush, 367 to 171. Even if securing that extra three percent of the white vote had lost him a further eight percent of the non-white vote, he would still have won handily. Whites are, and for the foreseeable future will remain, the core constituency of the Republican Party. The Hispanic Strategy will never bring enough Hispanics into the party, and will only drive away white voters. Had Pres. Bush not angered his white base with his foolish amnesty plan, it is unlikely the 2004 election would be as close as most pundits predict.
What today’s Republicans don’t seem to understand, and what makes Dr. Francis’s monograph so important, is that race matters. It matters culturally and it matters politically. This is especially true for whites, though most are too brainwashed to realize it. As Dr. Francis writes, “to an increasing degree, American politics revolves around race and immigration and the constituencies created by them — not around the traditional white European-American core of American politics and government. As the white European portion of the American population continues to dwindle toward what the Census Bureau has repeatedly projected will be a minority of the population by 2050, and as mass non-white immigration continues unabated, white voters and constituencies can expect to find themselves and their interests increasingly marginalized and increasingly irrelevant to the national political campaigns and candidates of both major parties.” Once that happens, Dr. Francis warns, “they and the country they have historically led face an uncertain and alarming future with whites facing the possibility of becoming a politically inert and powerless racial minority in the new, majority non-white America of the coming century.”