by Timothy Lane 12/17/14
Once upon a time, two political analysts named Richard Scammon and Ben J. Wattenberg wrote a book (based on the 1968 election), The Real Majority, arguing that crime was a legitimate and serious concern for many Americans, and also observing that the heart of the Democratic Party vote base was white working-class voters — a group they described as “unyoung, unpoor, unblack”.
At that time, there were many liberal Democrats who had a notion of a new politics, based on college students and the poor (especially racial minorities). Scammon and Wattenberg compared such efforts to a car that has great hubcaps, windshield wipers, ashtrays, and other such amenities — but no engine. The engine is the white working-class, and to get that you might have to sacrifice some of the fancy amenities.
At some point, liberals no doubt came to realize that Scammon and Wattengerg were right. Success required white working-class votes, and that meant paying serious attention to crime — much of which, of course, was (and still is) committed by racial minorities. Simply calling those afraid of crime racist wouldn’t work.
Now, suppose you’re a typical arrogant liberal of that day, one who can’t stand the idea of taking the side of white workers against black criminals. What would you do to win? Why, you would try to follow the suggestion jokingly made (as I recall) by W. H. Auden: replace the electorate with a new one.
And so, today, they are doing. It’s doubtful that Teddy Kennedy (who ran well among working-class Massachusetts voters, a group that was heavily Irish) was thinking of those terms in 1965. But as the immigration changes that year led to a massive increase in Hispanic immigrants (who were similar in socioeconomic status, frequency of criminal behavior, and voting record to blacks), it undoubtedly occurred to many liberals that over the long run those voters might enable them to ignore the “unyoung, unpoor, unblack” base of the party. Then they could let the limousine liberals (basically what Michael Barone calls gentry liberals) have their interests taken care of as top priorities while buying off the racial minorities with welfare and race-baiting. When did they realize this? Was the ;push for amnesty 30 years ago based on the desire to replace their vote base with racial minorities?
We’ll probably never know when this became their goal. But it clearly is their goal now, and undoubtedly has been for some time. And so far, with the help of rope-selling businesses and Republicans loyal to them, it’s working all too well. And if the result harms all the lower classes, regardless of race? As long as the combination of welfare and race-baiting enables the liberals to maintain their minority votes, they’re quite satisfied. Few aristocrats really care about the peasants — especially when the concept of noblesse oblige doesn’t exist.
Timothy Lane writes from Louisville, Kentucky and publishes the FOSFAX fanzine.
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