Who’ll win the Irish vote?

We keep getting told that demographics favor the Democrats and look bad for the Republicans, as America becomes more ethnically diverse, a phenomenon particularly evident in the growing Hispanic vote.  But Josh Gelertner gives us a history lesson putting all of this into context.

He points out that ever since the machine politics of Boss Tweed in the 1850s, Democrats have pandered to immigrants fresh off the boat in exchange for their votes.  Thus the Irish became an important part of the Democratic base.  The same thing happened with the next wave of immigrants, the Italians.  But after awhile, each of these groups assimilated into American culture, whereupon they stopped voting exclusively for the Democrats.

He then argues that the same thing will happen to Hispanics–indeed, that it has already started to happen.  Today, no one talks about the Irish or the Italian vote, though they used to.  The same thing, Gelertner says, will happen with all immigrant groups. The American melting pot keeps working.

Read his argument after the jump, including how anti-Hispanic sentiment today is similar to the anti-Irish and anti-Italian sentiment of the past.  Does he have a point, or is he too sanguine about immigration?

He seems to assume that cultural assimilation happens naturally.  In the past, America worked hard to “Americanize” its immigrants.  This was a major task for schools.  As late as my day, we had lots of American history (in which Americans were portrayed as good guys), required Civics classes (teaching the Constitution and the workings of Democracy), and even lessons in “Americanism” (Cold War anti-communism, including the superiority of individualism over collectivism, free market economics over socialism, and freedom over regimentation).  Instead, schools today teach multiculturalism. Cultural assimilation is impossible if there is no particular culture to assimilate to.

[Read more…]

The party of the rich

Democrats are now the party of the rich, and Republicans are the party of the blue collar worker.  So concludes Reihan Salam, writing in the liberal Slate, drawing on research by think tanker Lee Drutman, who shows that the wealthiest Americans now tend to vote for Democrats.

Why?  Because the wealthy tend to be “socially liberal”; that is, they support abortion, gay rights, gun control, etc., etc.   Contrary to how they usually describe themselves, they are not necessarily “fiscally conservative.”  They are so affluent they don’t mind paying slightly higher taxes, and they want the government to provide health care and other benefits for the lower class that serves them.  But they are far from Bernie Sanders-style socialists, being supportive of big banks and Wall Street.

Conversely, as we see in the ascension of Donald Trump, lower income workers–concerned about free trade, exporting jobs, and low wages, as well as what they see as America’s cultural decline–are voting Republican.  This is all an exact reversal of just a few years ago. [Read more…]

What’s been missing at the Democratic convention

What’s been missing at the Democratic National Convention?

(1)  American flags.  The first night, there were Palestinian flags on the convention floor.  Outside, Bernie Sander’s socialist followers flew the red banner with the hammer and sickle of the Soviet flag.  But no Old Glory.  Not until an article in the Daily Caller pointed out the absence of the American flag, in stark contrast with the Republican convention where the stars and stripes were everywhere.  Whereupon the Democrats brought in some.

(2)  References to terrorism.  Fact-checkers confirmed that none of the 61 speakers on the first day of the convention mentioned the words terror, terrorism, terrorist, Islamic, or ISIS.  There was scant mention Tuesday, but Wednesday’s emphasis on foreign policy did include talk about terrorism.

What else has been missing?

[Read more…]

Sanders supporters boo calls for party unity

The first day of the Democratic National Convention was marked by boos, shout downs, and loud protests on the part of Bernie Sanders supporters whenever a speaker called for the party to unite behind Hillary Clinton.  They even booed Sanders when he said that! [Read more…]

What to watch for at the Democrats’ convention this week

Now it’s the Democrats’ turn to have a convention, beginning today and lasting through Thursday.  Here are some things to watch for:

(1)  Both the Republicans and the Democratic contests featured an insurgent arrayed against the party establishment.  In the Republican case, the insurgent won.  In the Democratic case, the party establishment beat down the insurgent.  But his followers are not happy.  Though socialist Bernie Sanders has endorsed Hillary Clinton, lots of Democrats on the left are bitter about her victory.  They don’t like her moderate vice presidential pick Tim Kaine.  And they sure don’t like the revelations in those hacked e-mails about how the Democratic National Committee undermined Sanders to anoint Clinton.  (See post below.)  At the convention, will the left rally to Clinton’s banner after all?  Or what will they do? [Read more…]

Clinton picks Tim Kaine for vice president

Hillary Clinton picked former Virginia governor Tim Kaine as her running-mate.  She could have picked someone from the left wing of the Democratic party, so as to placate Bernie Sanders supporters, but instead she chose a widely-experienced government official with the reputation as a moderate.  Perhaps her strategy is to reach out to those, including Republicans, who are alarmed by Donald Trump.

What do you think of her choice?  Does this apparent move to the center calm any apprehensions you may have about her?  Does this seemingly responsible pick make her seem more like the adult in the room, compared to the volatile and inexperienced Trump?  Or is this a choice that could backfire?  Might it cause many progressive Democrats, already frustrated with the way she shot down Sanders,  to turn to Trump, given his populism and his “revolutionary” shakeup of the establishment? [Read more…]


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