The sad story of Jeff Session and immigration patriotism came to an end in the Alabama senate run-off. Sessions was soundly beaten by former football coach and Mitch McConnell sock puppet, Tommy Tuberville. Of course, President Trump was ebullient, as he had campaigned against his old friend and supporter in one of his now typical fits of rage. He blames Sessions for his many blunders early in his tenure. Trump will not have Jeff Sessions to kick around anymore.
It is also the death of immigration patriotism. Sessions was always the best on immigration when he was in the Senate. He actually got some real things done on the administrative side when he was in the administration. Tuberville, in contrast, is just a dope who spent his life coddling black guys who can run fast. Washington recruited him, because they were right about the voters of Alabama. They care more about sportsball than the future of their grandchildren.
Trump and his stage handlers will read this as confirmation that his base is too dumb to care about the issues. They will just fall in behind their orange hero. It is the same madness that happened in the Bush re-election. Bush finked on his voters for four years, but won a second term by pointing at the Democrats. The implication was, “vote for Bush unless you want those terrible people to be right.” The mouth-breathers are doing exactly as expected. They are trusting the plan.
Whether or not this works is hard to know. In 2004, the goal was to get something close to 60% of the white vote. Bush did reasonably well with Hispanics and blacks were not angry about anything in particular. Whites were 77% of the vote, so getting in the high fifties was the goal. Given the partisanship in states in the Northeast, losing those white votes was meaningless unless it hurt with white votes in competitive states. Bush got 58% of the white vote and enough Hispanic support to win.
In 2020, Trump will need to get something closer to 70% of the white vote. That’s due to the declining white share and the fact blacks are super-angry now. Despite his foot-washing for four years, they still think he is an orange supremacist and horrible racist. What does not get discussed in public, but has surely been discussed in private, is the math of this election. In 2016, whites made up 70% of the vote. In 2020 it will be 65%. The actuarial tables are working against Trump and the GOP.
Putting that aside, Trump will feel vindicated in his decision to abandon immigration and could very well swing the other way. He told some Mexican media outlet that he plans to amnesty the DACA people. He just reversed course on the student visa scam. In an age where American college students must stay home and do their college work on-line, the children of Chinese Communist Party members will get student visas so they can attend classes on American campuses.
The inner party, of course, understands the math entirely. In fact, they have been working hard to create this math since the 1960’s. Just as immigrants were used as union busters in the industrial age, immigrants are used as coalition busters in the liberal democratic age. The way for a small group to maintain power is to make sure there are no natural coalitions that can form up and challenge for power. That’s the game in America and it has worked.
Getting back to the Sessions story, it is a great example of how the inner party uses partisanship as a tool. The left-wing crazies hate Trump for no reason other than they were told he is very bad. They hated Bush too. In both cases, there was no real policy dispute at the core of their hatred. They hated Bush because he claimed to be an Evangelical Christian. They hate Trump because reasons. Their rage is just pure partisan hatred of the perceived outsider.
This has the perverse result of turning those outside the Progressive camp into supporters of the thing they hate. Otherwise conservative people fervently supported Bush in the 2004 elections, despite is liberal policies. Something similar is happening with Trump in this election. No one is really going to vote for Trump. They will vote against what they perceive to be the other option, which is street violence, statue toppling and the endless lectures on race from the media.
Regardless, the end of Jeff Sessions marks the end of immigration, nationalism and populism as salient forces in official politics. The 2016 election was called the Flight 93 election, as it was the last desperate chance to save the country. Well, flight 93 crashed and killed everyone onboard. That last desperate dash to save the day failed. The last desperate attempt to save the system in 2016 has also failed. The inner party gained control of the Trump administration and flew it into the ground.
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