January 9, 2019

Trump's border speech was typical GOP, about crime / drugs; Realignment requires focus on economics and populism, which only Bernie crowd can deliver

Trump's border speech could have been worse -- it could have said no barrier whatsoever, and btw we're amnestying everybody. But it failed to realign the GOP, adhering to the Reaganite orthodoxy about waging a war on crime and drugs in order to distract from the elite sources of our deteriorating standard of living and fragmentation of our communities.

In particular, he failed to name and blame the enemy -- the elites on the GOP side, who have been steering our society since the 1980s, and who have a collective material interest in cheap labor. Their sectors of economic activity are physical and labor-intensive, unlike the informational and non-labor-intensive sectors who control the Democrat party. The cost of labor is a major component of the cost structure for GOP elite sectors like armed force (military, police, prisons), manufacturing, agriculture, and energy.

Their cartels will always push for cheaper labor in order to maximize profits, and when they organize together in a political coalition like the GOP, they will pursue this goal through replacing American workers with cheap foreigners. Either by re-locating the worksite to the cheap labor colony (manufacturers who off-shore their factories), or by bringing the cheap labor here if the worksite cannot be re-located (agribusiness whose worksites are its immovable land).

Democrats have been the powerless shut-out opposition party during the Reagan era, so they deserve less or no blame in general. On immigration, they have not passed the amnesties or open-borders laws that Reagan and Bush Sr did, and that Bush Jr spent his entire time attempting. Workers -- not the elites -- in labor-intensive sectors are a major chunk of their electoral base, especially those who are collectively organized, like union members.

Even their elites do not depend on slashing labor costs because that is just a rounding error in their cost structure. For example, the senior cartel of their coalition -- finance -- employs nobody, and is still at the top of their industry on a global scale. Their "costs" are when they take financial risks that blow up, like lending someone money who doesn't pay it back. Those are balanced by the rewards when their risks pan out, like when the debtor does something highly profitable with their loan, and manages to pay back the loan plus interest. Finance may seek bailouts if their bets don't work out, but they do not seek cheaper labor.

So far, Bernie Sanders has been the only major politician to call out these cheap-labor material motives as the basis for our immigration policies, casting blame correctly on the GOP elites. During the most recent presidential election cycle, he dismissed "open borders" as "a Koch Brothers proposal". He represents the electoral base of the Democrats -- actual or potential union members -- but his view could be harmonized with the elites of his party like the Wall Street investment banks, whose bottom lines would not be affected one way or the other if we closed the borders.

During his 2016 campaign, Trump railed against the GOP elites, though not so much on immigration as for trade / industrial policy and foreign policy. Still, he was not blindly partisan in his blame, and delighted in antagonizing the party's elites, who he said were manipulating the other candidates like puppets on a string. Now in office, Trump only blames the powerless opposition party, rather than returning to his campaign trail slogan of being even more disappointed in the Republicans than in the Democrats.

Aside from having the wrong analysis, and therefore the wrong proposed solution (hector Congressional Democrats), this speech took the wrong move in building a broad coalition to support the supposed goal of reducing immigration. By being partisan, he turned off all Democrats and most Independents -- who want to hear both parties blamed -- and by focusing on the themes of crime and drugs, he appealed only to conservative morality, giving liberals and moderates an easy excuse not to join him.

Focusing on matters of class and economics, and populism against elitism, would have had greater success in building a coalition at the popular level, but also at the elite level. Now, he has no elite support, including from Republicans, whose material interests militate in favor of cheap labor, and therefore open borders. If he had opened the door for Democrat elites, such as finance, they could have amassed political capital for appearing to be the good elites, as opposed to the bad elites, on the economic concerns of the working and middle classes -- while not having to sacrifice their own material interests. That's how the borders stayed closed during the prosperous New Deal era, when finance still controlled the Democrats but they were the dominant rather than opposition party.

In order for the Democrats to re-gain dominant-party status, they require massive defections at the electoral level, as well as one or more elite sectors.

As for the latter, that is a separate post, but it is industrial commodities like steel, whose elites have generally supported the GOP but who have been wiped out by the de-industrial trend pursued by the more powerful manufacturers of finished goods, who want cheap materials as well as cheap labor, and who have been only too happy to substitute foreign for American steel. Robust protection of steel would secure Pennsylvania back for the Dems, while mealymouthed marketeering would give them little reason to return.

As for popular support, they need anyone who feels like the GOP has sold them out. These are people opposed to wasting resources on maintaining our crumbling and pathetic empire abroad. They are people who want to re-industrialize the economy, in order to raise the average person's prosperity back to industrial-society standards rather than continuing to revert to pre-industrial peasant levels. And they are people who want to dramatically reduce the share of the population who are foreigners.

The GOP during the Reagan era has sold out all of those groups, and they feel like they "want their country back". A minority do not really mean this, and are dyed-in-the-wool Reaganites who are simply upset that their gains also come with some costs. But most disaffected non-Democrats really do want to go back to the New Deal era, which did include closed borders, a more homogeneous population, and civil rights focused on one group, the descendants of African slaves, who were deeply rooted in this country and had been mistreated, rather than diluting civil rights into "every fresh-off-the-boat minority group gets to be represented in Disney movies".

Realigners on the Democrat side do not have to make explicit nationalist appeals to the very large group who "wants their country back," but rationalizations are not important, the outcomes are. As long as that group can see that immigration will come down, and the population will be more native-born, they don't care what the reasoning is, what the public rhetoric is, or what party or politician gives it to them. If it's a democratic socialist like Bernie Sanders, and if he's making purely class-based rather than nationality-based appeals, who cares? That's just PR.

There would be a wave of people who have "never voted Democrat in my life," or who have done so only occasionally and grudgingly, who will now do so eagerly and devotedly. That will mark a departure from the Obama coalition, most of whose GOP defectors were temporary and grudging -- and who went right back to the Tea Party and neutered Obama from getting anything done.

The right must move in that direction also, giving relatively less importance to nationalist appeals in the context of immigration, and more to economic appeals. Breitbart, Ann Coulter, and Tucker Carlson are leading the way on this shift in appeal. They are positioning to be the opposition party under a Bernie-dominant era -- agreeing on the big-picture fundamentals, in the same way today's Democrats share the GOP's neoliberal orthodoxy, but are more culturally liberal. The new GOP will be culturally conservative sympathizers of the Bernie / Ali O-C agenda.

And the left must accept these new populist Republicans, as a preferable opposition compared to one dominated by Reagan, the Bushes, McCain, Romney, Ryan, et al. At the outset of the realignment, they will even have to tolerate them in the Bernie coalition, in order to give it the oopmh necessary to overcome all the obstacles in its way and secure status as the new way of doing things. After that initial hurdle has been cleared, then the conservative populists can separate off on their own, into a new populist GOP.

That will be no different from everybody voting for Reagan, to terminate the New Deal, before segregating into red and blue Reaganite states. Or everyone voting for FDR, to secure the New Deal, before segregating into red and blue Midcentury states.

The alternative is to favor "woke neoliberals" over "racist populists," i.e. prioritize identity over class, and deliver an even more crippling level of inequality and immiseration than the Reaganites. There are only a handful of woke populists, not enough to sustain a dominant-party coalition. They will have to choose which slate of issues is more important in the trade-off, and that will determine whether we head toward another New Deal or another Robber Baron era.

8 comments:

  1. The econ focus also applies to 100% of immigrants, unlike crime / drugs. It gets to the zero-sum nature of immigration, whereas the mostly crime-free and drug-free nature of immigrants makes it seem like we can all just co-exist without a global race to the bottom in working conditions and cost of living.

    Every immigrant is driving down total compensation to workers (wages plus everything else employers provide, including conditions), and driving up demand and therefore prices for housing. Immigration makes us work more, and makes us pay more just to get by.

    And it makes the elites work less and enjoy a higher standard of living, since they're the ones hiring the immigrants to replace natives. So every immigrant serves to widen inequality, and thereby to de-stabilize society.

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  2. "They will have to choose which slate of issues is more important in the trade-off, and that will determine whether we head toward another New Deal or another Robber Baron era."
    I had never looked at AOC's twitter until the last several days. Has she always been such an ID politics person? I was not expecting that at all. Is this a new development? I mean, I could see such chauvenism working in her district, but this is not how she was sold to the national audience and I have to wonder if it's new and why the change if so.

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  3. I think it's just the radlib fags who run her twitter, not what she does herself in public. It's designed for the performatively woke crowd -- and their mirror-image, the performatively anti-woke Right.

    As annoying as this stale cultural gay slapfight is, it does not seem to be getting in the way of what she does in office, so far.

    I didn't watch the whole interview w/ Anderson Cooper, but the main thing that came out of it was the proposal for much higher top marginal tax rates -- if she did call Trump a racist, or bla bla bla, it didn't find an audience.

    Same with her first protest as rep-elect -- against Pelosi on Dems sucking up to the energy cartel, not against "Trump's racism" etc.

    In fact, during an interview with Vanity Fair, before the election, she complained about why the Dems are merely the party of gay rights, who won't take on the cold hard material crises facing the majority of Americans (and others).

    So, I'd pay more attention to what she does in her political capacity, and tune out the Dem partisan stuff that her twitter content generators churn out.

    It would be better if she would make them shut up and focus on converting Trump voters into Bernie voters, though.

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    1. "So, I'd pay more attention to what she does in her political capacity, and tune out the Dem partisan stuff that her twitter content generators churn out."
      Okay and agree with working on conversion

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  4. Trump promotes amnesty, to get toothpicks sticking out of the ground, plus camera drones (many defense contractors are saying it's the most effective, and highly respected barrier).

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-floats-path-to-citizenship-for-h-1b-visa-holders/

    The fact that "pathway to citizenship" is even floating around his brain means they're planning to legalize a massive population replacement.

    Maybe they're also discussing jacking up the number of cheap-labor white-collar visas (H-1B), and those two ideas knocked together in his head to give the tweet about citizenship for them, which is not even possible now.

    Still, it means that selling out the American working class in favor of illegals and H-1B's is what Trump is planning on now. In exchange, he gets a performatively anti-woke series of steel slats that run for 20 feet along the bottom of the Rio Grande riverbed somewhere.

    All that's different from Crooked Hillary enacting these policies is a tweet from a gay Millennial intern. "Sorry American working class, you're canceled."

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  5. H-1B's benefit Dem elites anyway, like Silicon Valley. They're for the very small amount of man-hours that go into informational sectors like IT.

    Silicon Valley could hire Americans at prevailing middle-class wages to do coding, and it wouldn't affect their bottom line at all. They expand their output by taking over digital territory, while employing the same number of coders as before, whose code now feeds into a larger digital empire. It's not like opening up a new major factory that will require tons of new workers to operate it.

    Trump has been so swallowed up by the cuckservative Establishment that he can't just confine his cheap-labor policies to benefiting GOP elites, e.g. in agriculture. No, why not further line the pockets of your bitter elite-stratum enemies in Silicon Valley while you're at it? Maybe they'll finally give you "fair coverage".

    He was always flip-floppy on this issue during the campaign, having to send out "clarification" statements contradicting his public off-the-cuff remarks. He just cannot stop sucking elite dick.

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  6. Since the GOP is on its deathbed, the real question is will Bernie take a stand against H-1B's, rolling multi-million amnesties, and the like?

    The Sandernistas will be re-aligning the society during the 2020s and '30s -- and if they want the most defections possible in order to gain dominant-party status, they'd better pick economics over identity.

    In the short-term, Bernie must call out Trump and the Reaganite GOP on these issues, if he wants to win the Dem primary and the general. No Trump voter would bother going to bat for Bernie during the primary, when he's most vulnerable, if he's not willing to stand up for the American working class against these transnational vampires.

    No other Democrat will call out Trump on cheap-labor policies, because they're all a bunch of loyal-oppositional Reaganites themselves. Only a populist like Bernie can distinguish himself on the issue.

    That's just for coalition building. If they're serious about improving material standards of living, and narrowing inequality, that's an ideological motive for closing the borders.

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  7. Trump throws borders open for big biz: "allowed a one-time increase over the summer of 15,000 H-2B visas for seasonal nonagricultural workers — a 45 percent increase in that category — amid demands from businesses during a period of low unemployment."

    Sucking that agri-dick:

    "Trump pledged to pursue changes to immigration laws that would 'actually make it easier for them to help the farmers because you need these people.'"

    The "jobs are back" all right -- for immigrants!

    Elites of labor-intensive sectors continue killing off the American people, who demand higher wages than $2 an hour with no bathroom breaks and deportation if they pipe up about it.

    Anyone who is serious about closing the borders cannot even consider supporting a political party that includes these labor-intensive sectors. Their material interests will always push them to keep the borders wide open to cheap foreign labor.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/rallying-farmers-trump-pushes-border-wall-but-opens-door-to-more-immigrants-in-agriculture-jobs/2019/01/14/0c8062a6-1835-11e9-8813-cb9dec761e73_story.html

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