January 31, 2018

The fundamental trumps the theatrical: Reminders from the last GOP president

Consider a Republican president in a mid-term election year delivering a State of the Union speech that is received positively by 75% of viewers, peppered with appeals to bipartisan cooperation through difficult issues, and full of variations on feel-good words like "hope" and "courage".

Consider that this speech touts its recent successes in passing "tax relief" that has brought home however-many billions of dollars into the pockets of American workers, families, and businesses. Not to mention its successes in "pursuing the enemies of freedom" with its military, particularly in the Muslim world.

Consider the president asking the Congress, on the basis of those past successes, to take it to the next level going forward -- after cutting taxes, to privatize Social Security, and after helping millions of Iraqis to vote in free elections, to stand behind our military as they push ever further into that country to secure these newly won freedoms. Cut to: family members of an American soldier killed in the Middle East during this project.

Consider the speech's tough-but-fair proposal on immigration that reads:

Keeping America competitive requires an immigration system that upholds our laws, reflects our values, and serves the interests of our economy. Our nation needs orderly and secure borders. To meet this goal, we must have stronger immigration enforcement and border protection. And we must have a rational, humane guest worker program that rejects amnesty, allows temporary jobs for people who seek them legally, and reduces smuggling and crime at the border.

And consider that the president is speaking to a Congress controlled by his own party in both chambers, a seemingly invincible force.

Folks, we're not considering Trump's speech from last night -- but the SOTU speech of George W. Bush from 2006, which did in fact poll very well.

But by that fall, Bush supporters were given a rude awakening about the lasting influence of speeches. In a wave election, the GOP lost control of both the House and the Senate, as well as the majority of governorships. In the next presidential election, the party would get wiped out so bad that even "safe" states like Indiana and North Carolina would fall to the rival party.

How could that have happened? I thought Bush had EXPOSED THE DEMONRATS as the party that opposed American workers getting billions of dollars dumped into their pockets from tax cuts. I thought he had painted them into a rhetorical corner, where they were now the party advocating cowardice and abdication of responsibilities in Afghanistan and Iraq. I thought he had given so bipartisan and aspirational of a message, that he mortally branded them as the party of obstructionist killjoys if they objected to his agenda.

The persuasion framing was win-win -- either they surrender, or they struggle against your agenda and make themselves hated by all. The rhetorical figure-four leglock was impossible for them to escape from!

In fairness, the same could be said of Obama's uplifting bipartisan SOTU speeches -- touting recent successes as a way to ask for near-term goals -- delivered right before his party lost the House and the governorships, then the Senate, then even the White House.

And of course, sometimes these predictably, uniformly well-received speeches precede electoral gains rather than losses.

The elites will never internalize this lesson, but quite simply: culture does not matter, only the cold hard fundamental material conditions. Speeches, framing, branding -- rhetoric in general -- has no impact on an audience that views politicians merely as agents to implement a set of agenda items that they were elected to carry out, rather than as performers to make them feel good in unison with other feel-gooders.

Below the elite level, people are too concerned with the basic layers of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, not the higher ones like a sense of cultural belonging. They don't discount the higher layers, they're just too preoccupied with a precarious material situation. Polarizing "hot-button" culture war issues only play out among well-to-do voters, whereas low and even middle-income voters are concerned strictly with material welfare (see the work of Andrew Gelman and colleagues).

Predictive models of presidential elections, like that of Allan Lichtman, do not include cultural variables but things like the direction of the economy, success or failure in foreign policy, major legislative achievements, division vs. cohesion within the incumbent party, and so on. The only non-material variable is whether the politician is charismatic, which is more of a personality trait than an aspect of his logic and rhetoric in speeches.

So, enough already with devoting so much attention to speeches, branding, and messaging, whether they're coming from Trump or anyone else. No one cares about them, and they are immediately forgotten. All the voters care about is whether or not the incumbent party can deliver the goods that they were promised in exchange for electoral support.

Partisan Republicans may have voted for Trump in order to enjoy tax cuts, see conservatives nominated to the courts, and stand behind the generals as they send more Americans into Afghanistan.

But the Independents and cross-over Democrats (largely Bernie supporters), who barely put Trump over-the-top in a handful of Obama-voting states, are still waiting to see those major changes that were supposed to break the GOP away from its zombie-Reagan program of cutting taxes, deregulation, widening trade deficits, and soaring military budgets.

All inside sources are saying that Trump is in fact softening on protectionist trade measures, for the personal reason that he feels that they would threaten the stock market boom that he has hitched his wagon to, and more importantly for the institutional reason that the sectors of the economy that control the GOP (like manufacturing, energy, and agriculture) would rather assassinate Trump than see him terminate NAFTA or slam tariffs on foreign steel used to build pipelines for oil and gas.

These are the major legislative or executive items that they will be judging the incumbent party on in 2020 (and even in 2018). There will be no foreign policy successes since the military is hell-bent on antagonizing the major regional and global powers in the Middle East, where we have only ever lost, and perhaps provoking North Korea into attacking us after the generals' "bloody nose" strategy. The economy does not go on for 12 years without a major correction, especially when the finance sector that controls the out-of-power party can pop the biggest ugliest bubble in world history and pin the blame on its rival party. And the fragmentation of the incumbent party will only get worse as the occasional attempts by Trump to re-align the party only expose and hammer on the faultlines within the GOP that resists his re-alignment, relating to immigration, trade, war, and Russia / NATO.

For the Bernie wing of the Democrats who will be taking on the GOP in the mid-terms and especially the next presidential election, it is only these kinds of things that candidates should focus on. Hillary screamed "racist" and "sexist" and "xenophobic" until she was blue in the face -- and still lost! Culture schmulture. Focus instead on undoing the corporate and military empires that are ruining our once great nation.

January 29, 2018

Black vs. immigrant tensions heating up; nationalists should ally with blacks

A few weeks ago I advocated mobilizing blacks in order to defeat amnesty for illegal immigrants and the broader push to import all 10 billion of the world's population in the coming years. Black people hate other races (while tolerating American whites since they're used to us), especially immigrants who just came here and think they own the place -- and especially when they try to hog all the credit and benefits of being minorities.

The 50-year cycles of collective violence that Peter Turchin has documented will see another peak circa 2020, and as usual these riots will be more easily inflamed between people of different racial, ethnic, and national origin groups. Only this time, the twist is that the political zeitgeist is all about the split between immigrants and Americans -- pitting African-Americans against the new immigrant groups who are Latino and Asian.

These groups are all at open war with each other on the West Coast, where gangs are entirely along ethnic lines. But it's about to boil over into the mainstream as well. Right on cue, here is Tariq Nasheed blasting a Grammy speech by Cuban immigrant singer Camila Cabello, who was promoting the feel-good new-immigrant narrative about how "America was built by DREAMers" (lots of "thank you for telling it like it is" in the comments from blacks):

Whereas the African-American narrative history is about having been brought here against their will to toil in the fields for no pay, the new immigrants' narratives are about coming here eagerly to enjoy a higher standard of living. Blacks resent these prospering newcomers for trying to marginalize the black narrative about having been unwilling victims. "Being a minority in America," in the black view, is supposed to reflect historical victimization, not being in charge of your own fate and seeking a better life in another country.

Blacks resent not only Latino and Asian immigrants for trying to hijack their minority narrative in this way -- they react the same dismissive way to clueless liberal Ellis Islanders who try to commiserate with blacks about having been discriminated against when they first came here as an Other ethnic group. If you weren't brought over here in chains, if you weren't forced to literally slave away in the cotton fields -- save your sob story about "No Irish Wanted" signs.

Aside from cultural narratives, the cold hard economic reality today is that blacks are far more harmed by opening the floodgates of immigration, as immigrants compete with lower-skilled workers and pack themselves into urban housing markets, both of which disproprotionately hit African-Americans.

So it comes as no surprise that a Harvard-Harris poll finds that blacks are the most eager to dramatically reduce immigration numbers. Half of them want the lowest possible numbers that are still greater than zero (1 to 250,000). The current level is around 1 million.

According to the General Social Survey, blacks are about the same as whites when it comes to wanting lower immigration, when you control for population density. Generally, rural residents are more for reducing immigration than urban residents. But when you look within a large city, blacks and whites are about the same; within the suburbs, they're the same; within rural areas, the same. The only reason it looks like whites are the most in favor of reducing immigration is because they are more likely to live in rural and small-town areas than blacks are.

And of course, within each level of population density, the "other" racial group (a mix of Latino and Asian) is markedly different from both the whites and blacks in being against reduced immigration, and in favor of increasing it.

Now, the clueless cuckservative response to this is to tell blacks, "Well, guess you're gonna have to leave the DEMOCRAT PLANTATION and jump on board the Trump train!" Wrong. The solution is to form a bipartisan movement to reduce immigration going forward, to give as little amnesty as possible now, and to deport the most of the illegal population.

Blacks will never vote GOP in large numbers, whether it's Reagan or Bush or Trump or anyone else. And why should they? It's the Democrats who take care of them, with the exception of bringing in all these immigrants, who they then promote at the expense of black people. Everything else in the Democrat platform benefits blacks, though, so they're only going to want to change this one big issue within their own party -- not change parties.

But if that's a key area of overlap with Trump voters, why turn down an alliance just because the other side won't totally join your own side? To win, we only need to form alliances -- not to pull off total conversions.

Indeed, after the failure of a populist re-alignment on the GOP side, that's only more reason for the populist-nationalists who voted Trump to crash the Democrat party and serve as the cavalry for other groups among the Dems who have similar goals as ours.

Shrinking the military footprint after failed imperialism? We can ally with the peaceniks. Single-payer healthcare? We can ally with just about any grassroots Dem group. Reducing and undoing mass immigration? Not with white-guilt liberals, but with the African-Americans who form a large and influential chunk of the Democrat base.

Obviously the framing would be different to appeal to African-Americans than working-class whites, but it's already being put out there by blacks themselves for us to adopt. Being a minority in America means having gone through historical victimization and suffering a lower standard of living. Current government programs are meant to correct that historical injustice. None of that applies to Latino or Asian immigrants who willingly come here en masse to enjoy a higher standard of living. Only to Native Americans and African-Americans.

On an informal level, we can easily encourage black resentment at being marginalized by these new immigrants. It's already there, we just need to stoke it. They understand that it's zero-sum when it comes to cultural attention and government programs -- it's either blacks or the Latino/Asian immigrants.

Just remember: no lame give-away messages about why they need to vote Republican or read Milton Friedman or something retarded like that. Your goal is to sound like a New Deal liberal from the Civil Rights era who, in this strange new world of mass immigration of Latinos and Asians, wants protectionism for the historical black community against the immigrants.

It's going to take a shift that seismic to turn the tide on immigration in this country. When the black section of the Democrat base starts demanding an end to mass immigration, as a form of economic and cultural self-defense, then we'll see some real serious shit.

Populist-nationalists should join them outright in re-directing the Democrat party's priorities, while free-market conservatives who remain in the zombie-GOP should be willing to sacrifice something in order to get an end to immigration as we know it. Would Congressman Steve King be so opposed to "Medicare for All" if it could be traded for deporting most of the illegal population and reducing future immigration to a fraction of what it is now?

In these topsy-turvy endtimes for Reaganism, we're going to be striking all kinds of unusual deals.

GSS variables: letin1, race, srcbelt

January 26, 2018

Against Mueller, GOP defends Trump only after he rubber-stamps Reaganism and abandons populism-nationalism

During the breaking news last night that Trump tried to fire Mueller in June, several talking heads like the retarded Joy Ann Reid attempted to shame Congressional Republicans into turning on Trump. What will it take for the Establishment GOP to finally turn on him?, these pundits are wondering.

But that was then, and this is now. Trump campaigned against the GOP writ large -- its vision, its institutions, and its principal agents and flunkies. He came into the White House to shake up the party, re-align it in a populist and nationalist direction, away from the corporate elitist and globalist direction it had been pursuing for decades. He would make the Republicans in Washington "bend the knee" to his new movement, and the hostile takeover of the party would be complete.

During the time when Trump was at least somewhat of an oppositional figure to his own party, they had no interest in protecting him from the bogus charges of colluding with Russia during the campaign. Why defend him, when he's so determined to wipe out everything they're interested in defending as conventional Republicans?

The Democrats, we understand where they're coming from, folks. But I'm even more disappointed in the Republicans. Or as Michael Wolff puts it in the "Russia" chapter from Fire and Fury:

The congressional Democrats had everything to gain by insisting, Benghazi-like, that where there was smoke (even if they were desperately working the bellows) there was fire, and by using investigations as a forum to promote their minority opinion (and for members to promote themselves).

For Republicans in Congress, the investigations were a card to play against Trump’s vengefulness and unpredictability. Defending him -- or something less than defending him and, indeed, possibly pursuing him -- offered Republicans a new source of leverage in their dealings with him.

Last year I discussed the nature and extent of Trump's political capital -- it was the ability to galvanize a mass of citizens into collective action, like attending a Trump rally or voting for him in a primary or general election. He had no elite support anywhere, and indeed burned his bridges with them, meaning he came into office with political debt rather than capital.

Hence the GOP would make him work off his debt first before giving him any of his own Trumpian "asks," but beginning with such a massive debt, there was very little chance they would ever consider it cleared and begin taking up his populist or nationalist agenda from the campaign. They would only reward him to the extent that he folded to their corporate elitist and globalist demands.

Sure enough, that's exactly what's happened.

After -- and only after -- he played his part in passing the Reaganite tax cut bill, the zombie-Reagan party is more than happy to extend Trump a line of political credit, provided he only spends it in the GOP company store. No "get out of NAFTA," no "get out of Afghanistan," no "deport 10 million illegals". We don't sell those policies here in Washington.

But if you need some protection from that pesky investigation by the FBI and the Special Counsel, why sure we can help you out. We wouldn't want our rubber-stamper of Reaganism to have aspersions cast on him. Back when you were running that whole anti-Establishment thing, we didn't mind your legitimacy being threatened. But now that you're doing our bidding? Hell, that makes you one of us -- long as it may have taken you to come around -- and we wouldn't want the legitimacy of our new figurehead to come under question.

That certainly doesn't mean the GOP is willing to go to war against the FBI or Mueller, both of whom are solid Republicans. Trump hasn't amassed that much political capital just from passing a tax cut. Now, maybe if he could manage to privatize social security, Trump could get the Republicans to end the investigation for good. But that's not going to happen.

Their likely plan is to push back on the FBI's credibility in a limited way -- only against certain individuals, and in a certain case, without questioning the broad powers of the institution. They just re-authorized the practices that led to the FISA court approving surveillance of the Trump campaign, so they clearly are not going to weaken the institutional strength of the FBI or other intel agencies.

They can sense having a rough time keeping a majority in both houses of Congress after the mid-terms, especially in the House where impeachment proceedings would begin. So they just bide their time, and if the Democrats take back the House and start using Mueller's findings, regardless of whatever they do or do not say, as a pretext for impeachment -- hey, we did our best when we controlled the House, Don-arino, don't blame us for what the Democrats do when they've taken it over.

Trump could still fuck those plans up by firing Mueller, or firing enough of his subordinates until one of them fires Mueller. That would probably be a bridge too far for Republicans to reflexively and totally circle the wagons around him. That would require him to hit a real home run for team Reagan -- amnestying all tens of millions of illegals, say.

That may be why the news was leaked about him ordering Mueller fired in June, only for the White House Counsel McGahn to refuse, and Trump back down. It's a reminder that he doesn't have enough political capital for the Republicans to bail him out of a big-league jam like that -- don't do anything stupid, and we'll keep attacking the neutrality of the FBI, at least in a circumscribed way relating only to the bogus Russia allegations, which doesn't threaten the institution's larger powers.

This is yet another reason why the next major figure to carry out a re-alignment must come into office with a decent chunk of political capital already. If he does not, it makes him wholly dependent on those who do have capital -- the Establishment -- to fend off the inevitable attacks that his opponents will make, knowing how weak he is upon arrival. Otherwise, a would-be re-aligning president who enters the White House with little capital, and even worse with debt, gets easily co-opted by the conventional forces he was sent there to oppose.

January 24, 2018

Trump as the Jimmy Carter of the GOP? And Bernie as the Reagan of the Dems?

Peter Schiff has suggested only half-jokingly that the current administration could go down like the Carter administration -- a one-termer that gets blown out by a whole new movement from the rival party, akin to the Reagan Revolution only with the parties and values switched.

He's talking mostly about the effects of the financial crash that will happen sometime before Trump's first term is up. It will be far worse than anything we've experienced so far, because it has had far more air blown into it than previous bubbles. The Obama bubble was inflated by 0% interest rates for 8 straight years, plus trillions of toxic debt off-loaded from commercial banks' balance sheets and onto the central bank's balance sheet. If the coming crash is far worse than the 2008 recession under a Republican, it will propel a far more left-wing Democrat than Obama into the White House.

Although that dynamic may play out, it does not mirror what happened under Carter. However, there are a lot of similarities between the Carter and Trump administrations. To summarize, they are attempts to re-unite an old band for a tour with a whole new sound. The winds of fashion have shifted since their heyday, and they sense that and respond to it -- but they just can't pull off the new sound very well, and they quickly get replaced by a different band to whom the new sound comes more naturally.

In other words, they were the initial terms of a society-wide re-alignment, but they were not the natural party to execute this re-alignment, so they were quickly switched out for their rival party, who were more natural fits into the new zeitgeist.

For Carter, the shift was away from the New Deal coalition of Democrats, in which the Deep South was a constant, and the Northeast was the next most reliable member. The split stemmed from the Civil Rights movement, which the Northeast favored but the Deep South opposed.

After the Deep South had drifted away from the Democrats during the '60s and early '70s, the winner of the Democrat primary in '76 was a Deep Southerner himself who was conservative on social-cultural issues and wanted to deregulate the private sector from the government. He was a joke to serious observers at the outset of the primary, but overcame a very crowded field of more experienced candidates on a campaign of being an outsider untainted by Washington corruption (in the wake of Watergate).

In the 2016 GOP primary, the Rust Belt states had long left the Republican coalition that they had belonged to under the party's heyday during Reagan. The winner of the primary hailed from one of these states, who campaigned against his party's stereotype on social-cultural issues (ignoring them mostly, and being liberal on the major hot-button topic du jour -- homosexuals).

He went strongly against the economic orthodoxy of his party, preferring to re-industrialize through strong tariffs and exiting free trade deals, and favoring single-payer healthcare. He began as a joke candidate in the eyes of the serious people, but overcame a crowded primary field full of governors and senators, owing to his outsider status and promise to "drain the swamp".

In the general election, both '76 and '16 were close races in the popular vote and Electoral College, with Carter winning 297 and Trump winning 306. Re-alignments will not necessarily be wipe-outs, as the population may be cautious about shifting gears too fast. Carter did in fact win back the Deep South and the big prize of Texas, while Trump won back the Great Lakes states and the big prize of Pennsylvania.

For a brief moment on election night, it seemed like a long-lost chunk of the FDR coalition was back for Carter, and that a long-lost chunk of the Reagan coalition was back for Trump. By the very next election, most of those won-back states for Carter would be stolen back by the Republicans, and it seems likely that the Rust Belt states will be stolen back by the Democrats in 2020.

Even more promisingly, both administrations began with unified control of the White House and both chambers of Congress. The party looked invincible, and the possibilities endless!

But the honeymoon was soon over. Really, their second honeymoon, as these administrations were more like a re-marriage among members who had already divorced awhile ago. Quickly they remembered why they got divorced in the first place.

The following evaluation borrows from Allan Lichtman's 13 Keys to the White House, an election prediction model that has been right since it began in the '84 election, and fitted retrospectively back to 1860. It was one of the two historical models that I relied on to correctly predict that Trump would win in 2016, along with Helmut Norpoth's primary model.

The incumbent party's mandate in the House of Representatives fell in the '78 mid-terms compared to the previous mid-terms, and compared to the recent presidential year. No one believes that the Republicans will come out of the '18 mid-terms with more Representatives than they had in the previous mid-terms of '14, nor compared to the recent presidential year.

In the Senate, there were fewer Democrats after the '78 mid-terms compared to either the previous presidential or mid-term election. The Republicans will be lucky to come away with more Senators after the '18 mid-terms than either of the two previous years, since they've already lost one in one of their safest states during a special election (Alabama). They may not hemorrhage, given a map more favorable to them, but they won't pick up big numbers, if any.

The election of the re-alignment candidate reflected a dissatisfaction with the party as a whole, so while the presidential candidate scored a shock victory for his change-of-pace platform, the entire party in Congress suffered losses since not all of them were change agents.

The contradictions that came from re-marrying an old partner during a new stage of life -- trying to base something novel on something traditional -- led to a breakdown in the party's ability to get the government to work on a basic level. The Carter administration was wracked by multiple failures to fund the government, for the first three out of his four years -- despite the party controlling the White House and Congress. The Trump administration has been hit by its own funding failure during its first year, and the way things look going forward, there could be more in store for its second, despite Republican control of the White House and Congress.

These are the only two modern administrations to suffer from funding failures despite single-party control of the White House and Congress.

In the Carter funding failures, the contentious issue was federal funding for abortion (via Medicaid). The House wanted more stringent restrictions than the Senate did, and the House's stance reflected the change in the party owing to Carter running as a born-again evangelical Christian. In the Trump funding failure, the sticking point was immigration, with the House in favor of more restrictions than the Senate, and the House reflecting Trump's campaign as a hardliner on immigration.

Being pulled in two different directions, old and new, also meant there were no major changes to national policy under Carter. He did kick off the deregulatory mania that has reined since his term, but it was fairly limited in scope (targeting mostly transportation). But there were too many of the old school New Deal Democrats in his coalition to permit an unfettered pursuit of laissez-faire policies. That would have to wait until Reagan.

Given the schizophrenia of the current government, we can't expect to see major changes of a populist or nationalist sort either. Trump will probably score a noteworthy change here or there in the new populist zeitgeist, like Carter kicking off the deregulation craze, but nothing major. There are too many old school corporatist Republicans in Trump's coalition to permit a full-throttle populist transformation. That will have to wait until Bernie after him.

During their re-election campaigns, Carter and Trump benefit from being the sitting president (assuming Trump runs again, but his replacement would also enjoy incumbent party advantage). But that's as far as the incumbent president's advantage would go -- there will be major disruptions from other candidates, reflecting the schizophrenia of the initial term of a re-alignment based on a re-marriage.

The first disruption to Carter was a bruising primary challenge from a major figure of the old school, namely the New Deal Northeastern liberal Teddy Kennedy. He didn't like the strange new direction that Carter was taking the party in. Trump will certainly face a brutal primary challenge in 2020, from some major figure of the old school of Reaganite conservatism -- let's just say Mitt Romney -- who cannot sleep at night knowing the perverse direction that the president is steering his party in. These primary battles severely damage the incumbent during the general.

The second disruption will take place in the rival party, also falling along old vs. new lines. In 1980, Reagan was even more of a socially conservative deregulator than Carter. That provoked a third-party run from a member of the old school of Reagan's party -- John Anderson, who was a social moderate and not a hardliner toward government influence over the economy. His third-party run gave Carter's rival a boost, because now there were two choices splitting the non-Reagan vote. Reagan was the pure example of the new direction, so if you didn't want the new thing, you had two choices. That vote splitting was enough to give Carter's rival a victory in several states that he never had a chance at in a heads-up match (like New York and Massachusetts).

In 2020, Bernie will be even more of a pure populist than Trump, who by that time will have a far less populist appeal after the lackluster track record of his schizophrenic, start-and-stop term. Bernie's social-democrat campaign could provoke a third-party run from a Democrat in the older neoliberal elitist mold -- let's just say Joe Lieberman. If you want the novel thing, populism, you have a pure choice in Bernie, and if you don't want that, you have two choices -- a neoliberal Lieberman, and a quasi-populist but more conventional conservative in Trump. That would split the non-Bernie vote and make it not only easier for him to win, but to win states that a Democrat should never win. For example, if Texas gave 25% to Lieberman, 35% to Trump (for 60% non-populist), and the remaining 40% to Bernie, who wins a safe red state due to the splitter effect.

The triumph of the pure examples of the new zeitgeist will come as vindication to candidates who had previously run in their party's primary (and when it was incumbent) but lost to a business-as-usual candidate. Reagan ran in the '76 primary but lost to conventional Ford, and Bernie ran in the '16 primary but lost to conventional Hillary. They were both just a little bit ahead of their time.

Why doesn't the natural party for the new zeitgeist go with it right away? Probably because a major change is more likely to come from a party that is more desperate for a win, especially its voters. They're more willing to take a high-risk high-reward gamble -- Democrats on Carter in '76, and Republicans on Trump in '16. After being jolted awake from their laurel-resting complacency by these shock victories, the more natural party learns which way the winds are clearly blowing, and takes over its comparative advantage issue.

Deregulation was more fitting of the business-oriented Republican party, but it began with a desperate change election for an against-type Democrat deregulator. And populism is more fitting of the working-class-oriented Democrat party, but it began with a desperate change election for an against-type Republican populist.

So Trump supporters who voted for populism should not worry too much if little is achieved on that measure during his term. The larger winds of change are clearly blowing in a populist direction, and it will be no big deal if the other party is the one who ends up delivering the goods. It is a more natural fit for them, after all.

Like Carter -- or at least, Carter's administration -- Trump, or at least his administration, will probably be remembered as one of the worst due to the schizophrenia, paralysis, and general malaise that comes during the necessary initial shifting of gears during re-alignment. Neither will get credit from the general public for giving the first push in the new direction, although historians will point that out. In general, though, it will be the pure example who will command the most contemporaneous admiration, and nostalgia after the fact.

Carter was Reagan's opening act, and Trump will be Bernie's.

January 23, 2018

Trump trapped by neocon black widow Nikki Haley after possible affair?

Trump supporters have long known that their guy is a poon hound with zero impulse control. As long as it doesn't get in the way of doing the job as president, though, who cares? Quite the shift from the moralizing that Republicans heaped on Bill Clinton, but a testament to how little voters care about private behavior if the fundamentals of society are improving.

This time, however, the compulsive playboy may have finally played the game with a woman who can end his career if he doesn't do what she says -- none other than neocon rising star Nikki Haley.

Now is a defining moment for the would-be re-alignment under Trump because it goes beyond the mere matter of adultery vs. fidelity, opening up a "workplace harassment" can of worms during the #MeToo period that could lead to his impeachment if she doesn't get what she wants out of him, and revealing how easily Trump can be co-opted or compromised into promoting neocons and their ilk, against the will of the GOP's own voters who keep rejecting them.

* * * * *

Over the weekend, Fire and Fury author Michael Wolff was asked in two separate interviews (perhaps at his own suggestion), Was there anything in the book that no one has noticed or asked you about yet?

He said he's almost entirely certain, but doesn't have "the blue dress" (a la Monica Lewinsky), that the president is having an affair in the White House. Without 100% proof, he instead wrote up a few suggestive paragraphs that he hoped would tip readers off. He said the details come "toward the end" of the book, and that if you re-read them, the paragraph should pop out.

The only woman who fits those clues is UN ambassador Nikki Haley. She is only mentioned in the epilogue, unlike other women who are mentioned in the beginning and middle portions of the book, like Hope Hicks (really the only other contender).

The epilogue of the book is about the changes being made after the power void begins to be filled by General Kelly, with Bannon hoping to lead a populist-nationalist movement apart from Trump. The Alabama GOP primary figures prominently, and in interviews, Wolff said he believed Bannon was planning a prominent break from Trump after the Alabama general election, and the publication of Fire and Fury would have formalized the divorce.

In the context of the Bannon crew trying to salvage a Trumpian administration out of an administration run by Trump, Wolff discusses who they fear as would-be usurpers:

By October, however, many on the president’s staff took particular notice of one of the few remaining Trump opportunists: Nikki Haley, the UN ambassador. Haley -- “as ambitious as Lucifer,” in the characterization of one member of the senior staff -- had concluded that Trump’s tenure would last, at best, a single term, and that she, with requisite submission, could be his heir apparent. Haley had courted and befriended Ivanka, and Ivanka had brought her into the family circle, where she had become a particular focus of Trump’s attention, and he of hers. Haley, as had become increasingly evident to the wider foreign policy and national security team, was the family’s pick for secretary of state after Rex Tillerson’s inevitable resignation. (Likewise, in this shuffle, Dina Powell would replace Haley at the UN.)

This portrayal of Haley as eager to suck up to Trump would make her an outlier among the career politicians in his cabinet, who insult the president behind his back and can't wait to get out of there. It's even more unusual considering that Haley gave the nationally televised anti-Trump speech after the 2016 State of the Union address. You'd think she'd still hate his guts, but maybe not if he can make things happen for her career. She is an amoral ladder-climber.

The president had been spending a notable amount of private time with Haley on Air Force One and was seen to be grooming her for a national political future. Haley, who was much more of a traditional Republican, one with a pronounced moderate streak -- a type increasingly known as a Jarvanka Republican -- was, evident to many, being mentored in Trumpian ways. The danger here, offered one senior Trumper, “is that she is so much smarter than him.”

Since the UN ambassador is an empty assignment, and especially since Trump couldn't care less about the UN or what the global elites think of us, he has no reason to be spending that much time talking to her in an official capacity, let alone during so much "private time" on Air Force One.

The stakes were very clear to Bannon. Haley, quite an un-Trumpian figure, but by far the closest of any of his cabinet members to him, might, with clever political wiles, entice Trump to hand her the Trumpian revolution.

The account above does not come from just one source, who might have a grudge, but from "many of the president's staff". The Trump-Haley mentorship was "evident to many". We already know that Trump loves women, loves hiring and promoting them, and according to Fire and Fury, seeks their approval and counsel at least as much as men's, and often more so. We outside observers can also tell that Haley is indeed one of the few cabinet members who does not continually call Trump names, and does not seem to mind her assignment -- on the contrary, that if anything she is angling for something higher-up.

* * * * *

Would he have an affair with one of his subordinates? The pee-pee dossier never made sense because we know that Trump is a germophobe and would never partake of such a transgressive physical act. But Trump has been a lifelong pursuer of socially transgressive sex -- having sex with individuals who you are not supposed to be with, based on your relationship to them. It's part of his broader personality trait of doggedly trying to do what others tell him he is forbidden from doing.

First, there are those you are paying in some way or another, making the relationship between buyer and seller. We just heard about his one-night-stand with a porn star, and it wouldn't surprise us to find prostitutes or escorts for that reason. Then there was that very cryptic exchange between Trump and O'Reilly, where the Fox News anchor was pleading with Trump to not skip out on the network's debate. After pleading failed, O'Reilly reveals that Trump owes him for all those "vanilla milkshakes" he's bought him over the years, and Trump says they had an agreement beforehand not to bring that debt up during the on-air interview. Probably high-priced escorts, or fresh-faced Fox News interns on a casting couch. I noticed this at the time, but few others read between the lines and naively believed that a massive debt could accrue to literal vanilla milkshakes.

Second, there are other men's wives. In Fire and Fury, there's an anecdote about Trump saying the thing that makes life worth living is sleeping with your friends' wives, and recounts how he would dupe the wife into sleeping with him after encouraging the husband over the phone to admit how bland their sex life was, with the wife herself eavesdropping on the call.

Third, there are your blood relatives. Trump has repeatedly commented on what a bombshell his daughter is, talking about her naked body and sexuality, often with her sitting right next to him, and how he'd be dating her "if I weren't her father". No one has accused him of actually doing anything incestuous, but his mind has clearly gone there many times.

Modern societies with women in the workplace have introduced a new category of people you aren't supposed to have sex with -- your co-workers perhaps, but certainly not your subordinates. There's a power imbalance and ability to lower their material welfare if they don't give you want you want. It borders on coercion. Even when the subordinate eagerly pursues it, it leads to sexual favoritism in place of merit-based promotion, and corrodes morale among the workers ("So that's how you have to get ahead...").

Based on his longstanding pattern of thinking about and taking part in socially transgressive sex, what would keep him from having an affair with a member of his staff or cabinet? Remember that Trump's career has been in media & entertainment, where all of the #MeToo accusations are coming from.

* * * * *

What are the implications for Trump supporters? Obviously this is the kind of thing that can sink his presidency and leave the Trump movement in infamy. It's not just any old adultery -- it would be with one of the groups of people you aren't allowed to have sex with (workplace subordinate), during a cultural background where just this kind of thing is being blown up every day in the media.

Case #1: Haley uses Trump to get ahead in her career without the word of an alleged affair getting out -- or if it does, she denies it. Trump's reputation survives, and so does that of the movement, but he ends up promoting one of the most destructive neocons to a top position like Secretary of State or GOP presidential front-runner. These people need to be driven back into the grave, not resurrected and pulled out by the hand.

Case #2: Haley perceives Trump to not be upholding his end of the bargain, or to have been just leading her on about career advancement, and she then lets the word get out -- perhaps making a victimized drama-queen revelation herself, and begins posting with the #MeToo hashtag on Twitter. This particular neocon does not get promoted higher up (though who knows about any others), yet Trump's reputation as president is so ruined that he resigns, with or without impeachment.

A major scandal like that is one of the reliable things that affects the next presidential election, and can crowd out anything else in the historical memory. Watergate has obscured Nixon's pulling out of Vietnam, creating affirmative action, founding the Environmental Protection Agency, and so on.

I'm torn between which scenario would be better for the populist-nationalist cause. Without the scandal, we still get a neocon into a powerful position where she can really fuck up the country and the world. With the scandal, no harm done there, but the administration becomes permanently discredited -- good if only the GOP were tainted, and not so bad if Trump personally took a lot of heat, but bad if that stain spread out to his supporters as well. Judging from Watergate or Monica Lewinsky, though, it doesn't seem like the president's voters would be discredited in the public eye.

Either way, the result may not be known for awhile -- even if she does end up concluding that he's just jerked her around and decides to spill the beans, she'd likely give him enough time to prove himself, say until the final year of the term.

Supposing that there is no truth to the insinuation, there is plenty reason to believe that something like it could happen in the future with some other member of his staff or cabinet. There's no avoiding who he is.

* * * * *

In the meantime, watch for clues. Just last month, on a major Sunday news show, Haley said that Trump's sexual harassment accusers deserve to be heard -- that the 2016 election did not settle the matter once and for all, and anyone should always feel comfortable coming forward to be heard. Was that a warning shot to let Trump know that she isn't shooting with blanks, and you'd better not cross her because she reserves the right to be the next one to come forward against him and be heard?

Unlike the underlings of the Trump Organization or high-priced escorts, he can't just rely on using an NDA and six-figure pay-offs to hush up Haley or any other government employee. He has little political capital, Haley has more than he does, and the public sympathy would be entirely with her, especially if he succumbed to his vengeful impulses and gave her the epithet treatment on Twitter.

If anything in his personal character, as opposed to larger events, brings down the unlikely rise of President Trump, the fatal flaw will be his penchant for socially transgressive sex. And in some areas of life, there's just no reaching the Boomers, so don't expect any successful interventions either.

January 19, 2018

Fire and Fury: The power vacuum left by the cosplay presidency

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the inauguration of the Trump White House, it's worth reflecting on how the unlikely presidency has fared in office. Fire and Fury is Michael Wolff's inside chronicle of the Trump team(s) from the late stage of the campaign up through the assumption of power by General Kelly as Chief of Staff in August 2017.

Although it is being gleefully eaten up by #Resistards looking for validation of their hatred for Cheeto Hitler, the book is not at all a demonography of an Anti-President, and they are not the intended audience. They may be the most likely buyers -- desperate for anything negative about Trump -- but the tone is clinical rather than tabloid, and the overall portrait naturalistic rather than sensationalized.

The inside look also denies them the confirmation they're so eager to find that he truly is a far-right nutjob spoiling to blow up the whole world. From the chapter on the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, he voices his longstanding support for single-payer, just like progressives such as Bernie Sanders:

In fact, [Trump] probably favored government-funded health care more than any other Republican. “Why can’t Medicare simply cover everybody?” he had impatiently wondered aloud during one discussion with aides, all of whom were careful not to react to this heresy.

In the chapter on the decision to bomb Syria, both Trump and Bannon -- another far-right boogeyman to the liberals -- are shown to favor military restraint, pragmatism, and getting along with Russia (although they are ultimately worn down by the interventionist side led by the Pentagon generals):

But Trump was also drawn to Bannon’s strategic view [to "keep the United States out of intractable problems, and certainly don’t increase our involvement in them"]: Why do anything, if you don’t have to? Or, why would you do something that doesn’t actually get you anything? Since taking office, the president had been developing an intuitive national security view: keep as many despots who might otherwise screw you as happy as possible. A self-styled strongman, he was also a fundamental appeaser. In this instance, then, why cross the Russians?

If the book is not a concentrated hate-pill for those who are convinced Trump is the Devil, then neither, obviously, is it meant for consumption by members of the personality cult of Angry-White-Male Jesus -- and for exactly the same reasons. The cultists bathe in endorphin waves from the same conception of the presidency that sends "the losers and haters" into apoplexy. Where one group suffers from Trump Derangement Syndrome, the other suffers from Trump Mania Syndrome.

If their shared conception of the presidency is not true, as is made clear in Fire and Fury, they both will respond to the book not as a realistic account whose various internal pieces are to be evaluated, but as an opaque symbolic object only. There will be reflexive fist-pumping from the Democrats and reflexive hand-waving from the Republicans. Its long-term reception will be like that of The Bell Curve, with the sides switched around, and neither reading it open-mindedly.

Many of the Trump cultists accept that he is not a far-right ideologue, and is actually a pragmatist whose instincts reach toward the progressive Left as much as the nationalist Right. But they, along with the #ShePersisted crowd, all believe that he is an omnipotent God-Emperor single-handedly re-shaping the course of history from the White House, for better or worse.

This is the aspect of Trump's persona that is most exposed as fanciful in Wolff's book. Instead of a mighty central authority hurtling down lightning bolts upon mere political mortals, there is a great big power void left by an absentee would-be god.

According to the inside account, the president spends most of his time crafting his persona of being a ruler, publicizing this persona into the media, monitoring his persona's treatment by media figures (who he binge-watches on a three-screen set-up in his bedroom), repairing any damage they do to his persona, and launching retaliatory attacks of his own on their personas. All of it obsessively focused on mass media personas, rather than the real-world tasks of implementing the agenda he campaigned and won the election on.

We all knew Trump to be an inveterate showman who made his fortune by licensing his persona or brand to a developer's project, and by starring in hit entertainment shows. We assumed this would continue, but may not have expected it to be the primary focus of his finite time and energy in the White House -- as though his career had not changed from "being Donald Trump," only now in a presidential setting.

This impression comports with Axios' assessment of narrative threads from the book that are overwhelmingly true. Roger Stone, longtime Trump confidant and Washington insider, has been saying the same thing for months on Infowars broadcasts, albeit more sympathetically. He really is a cable news junkie, he does have good instincts but little patience for governance, and he's called "dope" by his cabinet members such as General McMaster.

As it happens, Stone is taking notes for a book on the Trump presidency that, so far, does not bode well, although he hopes it turns out better. He places most of the blame on those surrounding the president, who give him misleading or incomplete information, have ulterior motives, and so on. I was struck by how familiar the Wolff account read after having listened to Stone's independent account for the better part of a year now. It's not a partisan or ideological matter, it's there for any honest cold hard looker to observe.

As Ann Coulter pointed out after that clusterfuck of an on-camera negotiation about immigration, Trump only proved Wolff's portrayal accurate, being more concerned with the image-management and stagecraft of being president, while remaining wholly ignorant of most of the basic aspects of the debate -- that he gave such emphasis to during the campaign -- not knowing who stood where, and as a result of not caring about these things, outsourcing all negotiating and decision-making to the Congressmen for him to later rubber-stamp.

As the various factions in the administration discover that the media-oriented president has de facto abdicated his duties and powers as ruler, they scramble to fill the power vacuum. One faction is the Manhattan Democrats (Jared, Ivanka, Cohn, Powell), another is the Republican Establishment (Priebus, Spicer, Walsh), and the last is the populist-nationalist insurgency (Bannon and his crew).

Each faction has their own press secretary, as does Trump himself, which results in constant leaking against the other factions. Functionally, there is no organizational chart, and each faction is equally able to get Trump's ear and lobby him for or against some view or action.

The story is not one of garden variety palace intrigue, as the absence of a strong central power means there is more of a three-way civil war, as opposed to the usual petty backbiting among pacified courtiers.

This period ends when General Kelly assumes the Chief of Staff role, insisting that all requests for contact with the president go through him. That effectively demotes the Javanka family faction, and Kelly outright purges the Bannon faction. That leaves the Establishment GOP types, but they are too ineffectual to be trusted with running the government, so a power figure from the Pentagon -- which is aligned with, and indeed controls the GOP -- steps in to take their place.

That explains why the Trump administration took a far more conventional GOP turn afterward. There were no more populist-nationalists, the Manhattan Democrats took the hint that their party had lost the election, while the GOP-aligned Pentagon had enough institutional power to take over the White House operations.

Yet that would not have been possible if the president himself had not already checked out and burrowed away in the media world of persona construction and destruction.

I've been defending Trump's not-so-Trumpian outcomes as president, arguing that as an outsider novice he came into office with no political capital (rather, with debt, given his salted-earth campaign as a candidate), and that he faced monumental pressures from the institutions of both parties (Wall Street, Pentagon, etc.). At least he could push as hard as possible within those constraints, though, right?

Disturbingly, the account in Fire and Fury is that he checked out from actually governing already during the transition. He gave an eager go-ahead to making Paul Ryan the Speaker of the House again, despite being his antithesis, and immediately outsourced the legislative agenda to Ryan and McConnell, rather than track down other seasoned pros who would better channel Trump's campaign agenda. Ditto for executive-branch decision-making.

We know how that turned out, but the hopeful and charitable view I had was that they had simply out-maneuvered the new guy who had no political capital. Instead it seems like he has always been more focused on the media-persona aspect of being president, continuing rather than changing careers.

The point for Trump supporters is not to throw our hands up and say "Game Over!" It is simply to say we need to temper expectations about the remainder of Trump's term, to realize the institutional pressures we're up against, and to make better decisions about choosing leaders and candidates in the future. They must be eager to carry out the tasks needed to govern, and they should have more of a background in politics.

With another outsider, especially one from a field far removed from politics like media / entertainment, there would only be another power vacuum in their office that would open up a vicious civil war at first, before getting filled by the powerful unelected institutions like Wall Street or the Pentagon.

January 18, 2018

Apple, Foxconn sites are hiring foreigners, not Americans

Populists, if they do not want to get co-opted by corporate globalists, must always ask whether these announcements of "companies moving back" mean the new jobs will go to American citizens or instead to foreign workers, whether they're illegals or are brought in on guest worker visas like the H-1B program.

The first big announcement was Foxconn building a manufacturing plant in Wisconsin. In a three-part expose on their hiring practices (here, here, and here), Lawrence Tabak shows that Foxconn hires almost only foreigners at their existing plants in Indiana and Texas. The technical and professional staff are legally brought in on H-1B visas from China, and the unskilled staff are drawn from illegal immigrants. There are only a token number of Americans at these workplaces.

The situation at the Wisconsin plant will be exactly the same. If it were not, they would make a big deal out of reassuring us that they will be hiring few or no foreigners.

Now comes the announcement of Apple building a new campus in America. It is part of an ongoing PR campaign of desperation to get the American working and middle classes to be grateful for the GOP tax cuts going to corporations and the wealthy, which are supposed to trickle down to us, even though they never have after any of the other times they've run this experiment.

They say 20,000 jobs will be added over the next 5 years, but do not say how many will be at this particular campus rather than any of the other zillions of work sites they run. It will certainly not employ more than their headquarters at Apple Park, which has "only" 12,000 working there. I figure it will be in the thousands at the new campus, which will be something like a call center for customer technical support.

Still, will these new jobs go to Americans? Of course not -- Apple is in the top 20 companies for visa sponsors of cheap foreign labor. They got 2,000 visa and green card workers in 2017, no different from 2016, and both years higher than 2015 or 2014. They have shown no willingness to bend the knee to the "Buy American, Hire American" spirit of the Trump campaign.

They will simply ask for a few thousand more visas in order to staff their new campus, and as a giant of Silicon Valley, they will easily get them. That was probably part of the negotiations -- we will build a new campus here in America, and you guys in the State Department will give us enough guest worker visas to staff it. As long as the unsuspecting Trump supporters don't inquire about who is getting those new jobs, it will be win-win-win for Apple and Foggy Bottom and Trump's image!

Again, if Apple were planning to hire Americans rather than foreigners, they would damn well say so -- it would only strengthen their PR campaign about becoming more pro-American, and assuage doubts from populists and Trump voters. The fact that they do not say that, means they have no good news to share in that regard.

We know that Trump himself has already gone all-in for Silicon Valley's pleas for more H-1B visas.

He kept flip-flopping on the issue during the campaign, with his gut instinct always coming back to "give them guest worker visas".

During the transition, he was won over by "a high-level delegation from Silicon Valley" who begged for more H-1B visas. [1]

And most disturbing of all, he recently said that, "We need workers in this country; we need people to come in and work because I have a lot of companies moving in." [2]

He's talking about guest workers immigrating here on visas, in the broader context of giving amnesty to the DACA people and perhaps all illegals currently here. Whether it's one group of foreigners or another -- it's they who are going to be hired at the "companies moving in" because they're cheap labor replacements for American workers.

With the Congressional GOP having sidelined his populist agenda, Trump will spend the rest of his term frantically scrambling to "put points on the board" and "get a win" no matter how much it benefits the corporate globalist elites and foreign workers.

So from now on, whenever we hear about "companies moving back," we must check to see if they specifically say that the jobs will go to American citizens, rather than some vague statement like "jobs will be created in America". If not, they are going to hire cheap foreigners instead.

And the Democrats, if they want to win more seats in Congress or take back the White House, must hammer this point home to those who voted for Trump. "You were promised a return of good jobs to America, but they hired cheap foreigners instead. We won't allow those companies to exploit the visa system, and will make sure that struggling Americans will get those jobs."

Of course that would require standing up to a major institution that controls their party, Silicon Valley, but they are not that dependent on cheap labor like the labor-intensive sectors of the economy are. They can stand to lose a tiny bit of profit from higher labor costs, if it means taking back the government and staving off an angry mob that wants to demolish the tech giants.

[1] From Fire and Fury:

The president-elect enjoyed being courted. On December 14, a high-level delegation from Silicon Valley came to Trump Tower to meet him. Later that afternoon, according to a source privy to details of the conversation, Trump called Rupert Murdoch, who asked him how the meeting had gone.

“Oh, great, just great,” said Trump. “These guys really need my help. Obama was not very favorable to them, too much regulation. This is really an opportunity for me to help them.”

“Donald,” said Murdoch, “for eight years these guys had Obama in their pocket. They practically ran the administration. They don’t need your help.”

“Take this H-1B visa issue. They really need these H-1B visas.”

Murdoch suggested that taking a liberal approach to H-1B visas, which open America’s doors to select immigrants, might be hard to square with his promises to build a wall and close the borders. But Trump seemed unconcerned, assuring Murdoch, “We’ll figure it out.”

“What a fucking idiot,” said Murdoch, shrugging, as he got off the phone.

[2] From a recent WSJ interview:

Mr. Trump: ...You have a lot of people of those 800 [thousand, i.e. the DACA people], they work hard, they have jobs. We need workers in this country; we need people to come in and work because I have a lot of companies moving in.

And I’m getting a lot of questions like we want to move to Wisconsin, we wanted—like Wisconsin, I have Foxconn coming to Wisconsin; that’s my deal. You know the head of Foxconn, you know he’s a friend of mine. He’s still only moving there because of me. And the governor has been fantastic.

The governor of Wisconsin has been fantastic in their presentations and everything else. But I’m the one who got them to look at it. Now we need people because they’re going to have thousands of people working it’s going to be a—you know—that’s—that’s the company that makes the Apple iPhone.

WSJ: Yeah.

Mr. Trump: Is that—they’re going to build them here, they’re going to build other things here too.

We need people so we have to be a little bit flexible. I don’t want to be so—I’ve had another pledge that I’m going to move companies back into this country. I don’t want to make it so tough that they can’t come back in.

Would you say that’s a correct statement, Gary, we have to have people.

Gary Cohn: Yeah.

January 14, 2018

Immigration is a quantity problem: Mass immigration necessarily draws from shithole countries, not rich functioning ones

Lest we allow the culture war red meat to block progress on immigration restriction, let's answer Trump's exasperated question about why there's so much immigration from shithole countries rather than, say, Norway -- because Norway is already a nice place to live, and you'd have to be crazy to throw away a high standard of living, plus hundreds or thousands of years of historical cultural rootedness in that land, in order to move to America.

So, anyone seriously arguing that our immigration policy should be to import boatloads of Norwegians instead of boatloads of Nigerians must tell us -- where are the boatloads of Norwegians going to come from? Not from Norway, which is a first-world country.

In fiscal year 2017, only 50 people got immigrant visas from Norway. If we shut down immigration for all other countries except Norway, that might rise to 500 -- at most 5,000? It's always going to be a drop in the bucket, and that includes adding all the other first-world countries as well. They already have nice countries that they are deeply rooted in.

Back when those countries had a far lower standard of living than America, there were boatloads of Norwegians, Italians, Germans, Russians, Irish, etc., who immigrated here. The Ellis Island period.

But now that the differential between America and those countries is not very steep, it's not worth the cost (economic and social/cultural) for them to move. Maybe the Balts and Slavs want to move here still, but not the Europeans who we would consider most similar to ourselves.

This reveals the crux of the immigration problem: because it is entirely based on seeking a higher material standard of living, it will only draw immigrants from much worse-off countries than the destination country. And given the size of the global population that is much worse-off than America, that means gigantic numbers -- billions -- who want to over-run our society.

On the demand side, it is the same: wealthy and powerful groups bring immigrants in by the boatload in order to improve the material standard of living for the wealthy and powerful, in other words to serve as cheap labor. That includes employees for a business run by an elite group, or the domestic servants for elites who no longer tend to their own households.

Since the goal is cheap labor, the powers that be would never draw immigrants from another nice country, but only from poor countries. And since their businesses require large numbers of workers, that means boatloads rather than a few here and there will be flooding in.

The paranoid and conspiratorial take on this is that the elites are trying to replace the existing culture or genepool per se. We can put this to a test by contrasting immigration from an alien culture that is rich, like Japan, vs. from a more similar culture that is poor, like Poland.

In 2017, there was essentially the same number coming from either country (1,600 from Poland and 1,500 from Japan). And Poland has only 1/3 the population of Japan, so this is a much larger chunk of their total population who is leaving their homeland to come here. That is not to mention the 3,700 who came from Russia and the 4,800 who came from Ukraine.

When forced to choose, our elites flood us with cheap labor that is culturally similar (Slavs) rather than expensive labor that is culturally alien and in more abundant supply to boot (Japan).

The goal, then, is not to worry about the qualitative make-up of immigrants -- but to restrict their sheer quantity. Quantity is the underlying cause, quality the superficial symptom. If you open the gates to 1 million immigrants a year, who is going to want to uproot themselves from their home country? If you restrict immigration to, say 100 or 1,000 a year, then you could do some real quality control. In 2017, Great Britain sent 2,300 immigrants here -- and some of them may even have been British.

Best-case scenario, we get most of our small number of immigrants from good countries. Worst-case scenario, we win the battle for small numbers, but lose on where they come from -- shithole countries, or a random lottery, or whatever.

Still, 100 or 1,000 Salvadoreans a year -- and nobody else, from anywhere else -- would be a major victory. They would be just a drop in the bucket of our 300 million, and their wage-lowering effect would not be felt, nor could they take over entire communities and disrupt or replace the existing genepool and culture.

Yes, 100 Scots would be better than 100 Salvadoreans -- but we can't lose the war over the sheer numbers just for a feel-good Pyrrhic victory over the source of mass immigration. Which, again, is not possible anyway -- mass migration will necessarily give us the bad countries, not the good ones.

On real-world outcomes, the quantity focus is superior to the quality focus. But it is also rhetorically superior, allowing broader coalitions to be formed and therefore bringing more political capital and will (or at least acquiescence) to bear on the effort.

Face the facts: most Americans are not going to sign onto a movement that allows the number of immigrants to remain mostly the same, but drawn from Northwest Europe and shutting out the Third World. To them it would feel racist, uncaring, elitist, whatever. But if the whole world is shut out together, they wouldn't feel like they were targeting one place or another.

And more importantly, it wouldn't feel elitist because we would not be championing immigrants who are better than us (who could "improve our society"), but trying to make room for and lift up the millions of our fellow citizens who are already here, struggling to make ends meet. The last thing in the world they need is a billion more immigrants to compete against in the already Dickensian labor and housing markets.

Most of those struggling here are white, BTW, as blacks are only 10-15% of the population and the majority of whites are not 1-percenter yuppies with no worries.

Conservatives seem to never tire of making losing arguments and alienating potential allies, especially about race, and especially if they get to feel clever. How clever is it to suggest that there are actually a large number of Northwest Europeans who would want to immigrate here? Just go ask them -- they like it where they are.

Normal people recognize that there are no such hordes of Brits and Swedes trying to immigrate here, and they find it downright delusional to suggest that such hordes would be pouring in -- if not for those CULTURAL MARXISTS who are using all their might to block the wave of Swedes, while waving in the Swazis.

Normal people also recognize that it is the difference in the material standard of living that primarily determines who is let in. Whether they approve, for reasons of lifting up the global poor at the expense of their fellow citizens; or disapprove, for reasons of wanting to keep out cheap labor that lowers the welfare of the American working class.

Secondarily, the elites may want to maximize diversity in order to keep the commoners atomized and not trusting of one another, unwilling and unable to band together against their common elite enemies. Divide and conquer. But as we saw with Poland vs. Japan, they are primarily concerned about maximizing cheap labor rather than cultural diversity.

Rather than a message of "We rock, you suck," restrictionsists should say, "Sorry, but this country is already fuckin' full."

If anything, our population should get smaller, not bigger. We need to simplify, not complexify. We're not a virgin wide-open land anymore with abundant resources everywhere. Our per capita well-being is already stretched thin, as we slam against carrying capacity. Intrinsic growth -- births over deaths -- might make us rise a little, but not nearly like immigration can, where we've added tens of millions overnight.

Facing the problem of clawing our collective way out of neo-Gilded Age scarcity, we care only about the quantity of people who the elites are trying to dump into this over-crowded country of ours. It doesn't matter whether our wages are undercut by Ukrainians or Ugandans, and whether our culture gets replaced by Chileans or Chinese.

Take care of the quantity problem, and the quality problem gets solved automatically -- all while making an appeal that is more truthful, insightful, and bandwagon-jump-on-able. And no pointless debates and endlessly complicated categories and formulas for who is allowed in -- a single, low number, and who cares after that.

Do you want to win over the masses or shout louder into the echo chamber?

January 13, 2018

Trump's pro cheap labor stance signals willingness for amnesty and guest worker immigration

Most of the attention over the past few days has gone to Trump's description of Haiti and Africa as "shithole countries," echoing earlier statements that Haitians "all have AIDS" and that Nigerians would never "go back to their huts" after seeing America.

I'm unsure if he included El Salvador (MS-13) and other Central American countries with the shithole countries, but he did kick off his campaign by describing all the garbage that was pouring into this country from Mexico -- rapists, drug dealers, gang members, etc.

And after a radical Islamic terrorist attack here, as a candidate he famously called for an end of Muslim immigration into this country, and tried to get through a Muslim travel ban via executive order.

These examples suggest that his main opposition to immigration is based on the corporeal threats posed by foreigners -- violence, disease, and drugs. Not unusual for a conservative.

What about the economic impact of hordes of foreigners flowing in? Immigrants come here in order to undercut American wages (still well above the wages in their homeland), and then drive up the cost of housing by adding tens of millions of people to the demand for housing almost overnight.

Trump almost never mentions this, even though it's the main focus for the very few fellow Republicans who are immigration hardliners, like Tom Cotton and Stephen Miller. Improving the lot of working and middle-class Americans was the justification for the RAISE Act (which only has two supporters in the Senate, Cotton and Perdue).

It's doubly odd since Trump's major campaign theme alongside America-first nationalism was populism, rather than helping the corporate elites do even better when they're already so well off.

In a recent long interview with the WSJ, Trump repeatedly defends giving amnesty to the DACA people -- and perhaps the entire illegal population -- on the basis of needing more workers, especially for companies that may move into America:

Mr. Trump: ...You have a lot of people of those 800 [thousand, i.e. the DACA people], they work hard, they have jobs. We need workers in this country; we need people to come in and work because I have a lot of companies moving in.

And I’m getting a lot of questions like we want to move to Wisconsin, we wanted—like Wisconsin, I have Foxconn coming to Wisconsin; that’s my deal. You know the head of Foxconn, you know he’s a friend of mine. He’s still only moving there because of me. And the governor has been fantastic.

The governor of Wisconsin has been fantastic in their presentations and everything else. But I’m the one who got them to look at it. Now we need people because they’re going to have thousands of people working it’s going to be a—you know—that’s—that’s the company that makes the Apple iPhone.

WSJ: Yeah.

Mr. Trump: Is that—they’re going to build them here, they’re going to build other things here too.

We need people so we have to be a little bit flexible. I don’t want to be so—I’ve had another pledge that I’m going to move companies back into this country. I don’t want to make it so tough that they can’t come back in.

Would you say that’s a correct statement, Gary, we have to have people.

Gary Cohn: Yeah.


Mr. Trump: That’s comprehensive [immigration reform, AKA amnesty for all illegals]—well, if we could do that, that’s fine. I don’t know that that’s going to be possible.

Part of Trump's salesmanship is speaking mostly in "floating signifiers" where the audience can fill them in however they want, rather than spelling things out in lawyerly detail, which might turn off a customer if the details are not what they were looking for. While this allows him to build a broad coalition, it also lets him use verbal sleight-of-hand when there's bad news for one audience and good news for another.

Like the recurring phrase "we need people" -- it means nothing on its own, and the listener has to fill in who the people are, what they're doing, and why we need them rather than someone else to do whatever it is they're doing.

In a weak moment, he let the full description slip out at the beginning -- "we need people to come in and work". So he's talking about guest worker immigrants coming into our country on work visas.

Why do we need these immigrants to fill these jobs? The opposition is to native US workers -- they won't be hired at these companies who are bringing in guest workers, or hiring from the DACA population (who already have work permits) or from the to-be-amnestied overall illegal population.

He gives the example of the Foxconn plant that they're planning to build in Wisconsin. Why would he say, in the context of giving amnesty to DACA people and/or the overall illegals, "we need people because [Foxconn is] going to have thousands of people working"? He is saying that most of the jobs created at the Foxconn plant will be going to foreigners, whether they're DACA or guest workers.

I couldn't believe that when I read it, but a search of who these Foxconn workers will be turned up an excellent three-part expose by Belt Mag (covering Rust Belt topics), here here and here.

Did anyone know that Foxconn already has plants in the US? Their own site lists a plant in Indiana, another in Virginia, and the Belt articles describe one in Houston (along with the one in Indiana). So it's not as though this would be the first Foxconn plant in America -- and we can therefore base our expectations for the Wisconsin plant on their track record in their other American plants.

Most people debating the plant are assuming that the jobs will be going to Americans, and are only debating whether they'll be from Wisconsin or nearby Illinois, whether the pollution risk is worth building the plant, how soon the tax breaks will be paid back, etc.

But it turns out that Foxconn's existing plants in Indiana and Texas hire damn few Americans. Most of the professional, technical, and managerial jobs are held by H-1B visa holders from China, and a majority of the less skilled assembly work is done by (generally illegal) foreigners. For language barrier reasons, presumably these foreigners are also Chinese rather than Mexican or Indian.

From the first article (my emphasis):

Of the Foxconn factory in Plainfield, Indiana, some 16 miles west of Indianapolis, these former employees describe a corporate and management culture that treats Indiana workers as disposable; that favors Taiwanese nationals for management and advancement; and that heavily relies on undocumented workers who are carefully distanced from the parent company via the heavy use of temp agencies.

Indiana native Carl Williams spent a year and a half between 2008 and 2010 at Foxconn’s Plainfield facility as a quality technician and later a data analyst. He reveals that a majority of the 900 workers who were employed at the computer assembly factory during his tenure there were undocumented. “On days when word got out that Immigration [and Customs Enforcement] was coming,” he says, “most of the workforce would be missing.” Williams also describes a “wink and nod” attitude by management toward the use of undocumented workers as the facility declined to be certified as an e-verified workplace (an internet based system of checking worker identification). According to Williams, management acted on the pretense that they simply weren’t aware of, and certainly not responsible for, the documentation status of the bulk of the workforce. Williams added that management appeared to be more interested in rock-bottom wages, dodging the cost of expensive benefits, and maintaining their ability to lay off and rehire for seasonal demand.

Andre Morris, who was a Foxconn employee in Indiana from 2005 to 2013, confirms the large number of undocumented workers at the Plainfield facility and also recalls the sea of empty chairs when there were rumors of an impending ICE raid.

We can tell how much the Foxconn plants here rely on foreign labor by the fact that they get constantly raided by ICE.

From the third article, on the state seizing Wisconsinites' private land to build housing for the guest workers:

But Knapp also believes that, even if they could, Foxconn doesn’t intend to hire locals. With an expression of the proud possessor of inside information she lowers her voice and says that her two sons work construction and that their company is currently bidding on an excavation project. “They’re putting in a housing complex, an entire village, for the Chinese.” Meanwhile, she says, a neighbor down the road just a short distance outside of the Foxconn industrial quadrant has been approached to sell land for a condo project. If Foxconn’s past behavior is any indication, the additional housing is presumably for mid-career engineers from Asia who demand less than the average starting salary available to a fresh University of Wisconsin engineering graduate.

So, this Foxconn deal is completely the opposite of how Trump and the GOP have been portraying it -- everyone from the corporate shareholders to the white collar professionals to the blue collar workers will be Chinese, not American. Their profits, salaries, and wages will not go out into America but will remain in the Chinese company town, or sent back home to China. And American taxpayers will be subsidizing this thing out the ass for decades.

It's the opposite of populism, fleecing taxpayers to give corporate welfare; and it's the opposite of America-first, giving all the benefits to foreigners.

This is Trump's model that he chose for the guest worker program, and the raison d'etre for amnestying the DACA people or even the entire illegal population (if only the Democrats would agree to the specifics).

In that recent clusterfuck of an immigration negotiation with Dems and Republicans, Trump said over and over how he'd like to move right on to "comprehensive" immigration reform, i.e. amnesty for all illegals. That was not an off-the-cuff remark, as he repeats it a few times in the WSJ interview.

We knew back during the campaign that Trump was squishy on the cheap labor use of immigration, as he kept flip-flopping about whether he supported curbing the H-1B visa program or letting Silicon Valley magnates bring in as many cheap foreign guest workers as they wanted. His unguided instinct was to always side with the Zuckerbergs, and tell sob stories about the poor foreigners who study at Harvard and then can't get jobs at Facebook.

Then his campaign staffers, probably just Stephen Miller, would have to issue a press statement saying, "No, the H-1B program is exploitative and anti-American, so we're going to terminate it." Then someone would ask him about it, and he'd give his instinctive answer that it was awesome, followed by another reversal statement from Miller via the press, over and over again.

Was that just during the campaign, and then he changed his tune after he won the election? No: in the Fire and Fury account of the Trump transition and early presidency, there's an anecdote about the head honchos of Silicon Valley visiting Trump Tower to push for more H-1B visas, Trump agreeing with them, Rupert Murdoch trying to correct Trump for this anti-populist anti-nationalist position, and Trump blowing off that suggestion.

The president-elect enjoyed being courted. On December 14, a high-level delegation from Silicon Valley came to Trump Tower to meet him. Later that afternoon, according to a source privy to details of the conversation, Trump called Rupert Murdoch, who asked him how the meeting had gone.

“Oh, great, just great,” said Trump. “These guys really need my help. Obama was not very favorable to them, too much regulation. This is really an opportunity for me to help them.”

“Donald,” said Murdoch, “for eight years these guys had Obama in their pocket. They practically ran the administration. They don’t need your help.”

“Take this H-1B visa issue. They really need these H-1B visas.”

Murdoch suggested that taking a liberal approach to H-1B visas, which open America’s doors to select immigrants, might be hard to square with his promises to build a wall and close the borders. But Trump seemed unconcerned, assuring Murdoch, “We’ll figure it out.”

“What a fucking idiot,” said Murdoch, shrugging, as he got off the phone.

Now, most of the response to this vignette was about the exact words that Murdoch used to call Trump, not the fact that Trump was contradicting his campaign themes of populism and nationalism, and blowing off helpful corrective advice on the matter, even when it came from a high-ranking trusted acquaintance. That is what should disturb Trump supporters, and it is confirmed by his spontaneous answers during the campaign, and now by his WSJ interview on why "we have to have people to come in and work".

How do we square this with his stalwart stance against immigration from shithole countries, or terrorist-prone nations, or ones who are not sending their best? He doesn't seem to think that all foreign countries pose a dangerous level of the corporeal threats of violence, disease, and drugs.

Specifically, East Asia gets the "all clear" when it comes to welcoming hordes of immigrants, as long as they're brought in legally and for work purposes, without having to go on welfare. That would dovetail with the support for "merit-based" immigration, rather than a hardline moratorium.

Of course, "merit" simply means that working and middle-class Americans will have their jobs stolen, incomes undercut, and housing prices bid up by a less criminal group of cheap labor scabs. If some of their neighborhoods, and perhaps entire towns, go from all-American vistas to dystopian Chinese ant colonies -- well, that's just what happens when Americans are no longer willing to bust their ass in order to earn their keep.

If we, too, would work for $5 an hour under slave-like conditions with no benefits and suicide nets ringing our factory, then maybe we wouldn't "have to have people to come in and work".

Any nationalist who thinks that any aspect of American culture will survive colonization by the Chinese is gullible, retarded, or ignorant of their track record. Other than not killing each other at the rates that blacks do, most East Asian groups do not assimilate into Western or American culture, particularly the males, who remain disaffected and bitter at not getting dates from the cute white girls all around them.

The Japanese have done better at becoming Western, both in Japan and outside, but that's not who the corporate slave-drivers are going to be bringing into this country as guest workers. No cheap labor to be found in that rich country.

By viewing immigration largely through the lens of "how to import cheap labor to benefit corporate profits," Trump is right at home with the GOP orthodoxy, unlike his stances on most other issues. But as we've seen so far, the only action the government has gotten is on the tiny areas of overlap between the insurgent and the Establishment -- cutting taxes for the wealthy and corporations, bloating the military budget, and getting conservative judges into the courts.

Unfortunately that means there's a high probability that a mass amnesty is headed our way sometime during his term, whether for just the DACA people or all illegals. We might get some alleviation by seeing Haitians deported, MS-13 prosecuted more fervently, and some Muslim nations kept out. But the vast majority of immigrants who are mere job thieves and culture wreckers will pass through those filters, and will likely continue to flood the country through legal immigration, not to mention receive amnesty if they're already here illegally.

Since the overwhelming force bringing in immigrants is cheap labor, we're going to have to rely more on a Democrat populist to keep foreigners out, starting with mandatory E-Verify. Their grassroots are more focused on class threats, rather than the corporeal threats that disturb conservatives, and their elite sectors are not labor-intensive and therefore not so reliant on cheap labor, compared to the labor-intensive sectors that control the GOP.

That seems like the direction that nationalists must begin to frame the immigration restriction argument in -- preventing the working and middle class in America from getting their incomes undercut and their housing prices bid up by cheap foreign labor. That will keep out most of the immigrants, it will appeal to Democrats and Independents (especially the Bernie-supporting populists who are the wave of the future), and it will help Moderates accept it without being tied to conservative appeals about corporeal threats.

January 10, 2018

To defeat amnesty, mobilize blacks against immigrants on economic problems (non-partisan)

As the GOP administration and Congress keep circling closer and closer toward their target of giving citizenship to tens of millions of cheap-labor illegals, rather than sending them home, the populist movement needs all the reinforcements they can get.

So far the main army has been the America-firsters, which includes almost no one in the government but a large chunk of the general population. However, the most fervent immigration restrictionists tend to be conservative Republicans, who are not large enough on their own to shut down the amnesty push for good -- and who tend to be too well behaved to really take the heat to their sell-out politicians, or the greedy employers who bring in all of these cheap-labor foreigners to replace American workers.

That calls for an alliance with a group that has the same enemy, but that can send in more of a rowdy cavalry to make the elites feel the pain. And that group is African-Americans -- the angry, alienated black male youth to provide the firepower (figuratively speaking), and the community elders to harness and direct their fire at the right targets (figurative speaking).

Would African-Americans have to "switch sides"? No, because they are not currently participating in the pro-immigrant movement. They feel left out, and are sitting it out, neutral, leaving them open to joining the pro-American side.

If you look through images of pro-DACA protests, there's almost never any black people who show up. It's only the ethnic groups who are immigrants, and the foreign-born population is only 10% black -- less black than the American population. Here are a few random examples, but search Google Images for "DACA protest" and see for yourself. There's only two or three black faces maximum, and usually zero.

Or have a look at who was protesting Nancy Pelosi for being too weak on DACA, someone who couldn't bend over backwards any further for these ungrateful scum. Although San Francisco is near Oakland, for some reason no black people felt like showing up to protest with these immigrants:

The complete lack of interest among African-Americans for anything pro-immigrant, is a major fracture that the Trump movement should hammer on in order to break them away from even tacitly supporting amnesty and more immigration.

Why would they join the immigration restriction side, though?

Black employment keeps plunging according to the real statistic (labor force participation rate), not the phony "unemployment rate". Cheap-labor foreigners have driven down wages for the unskilled working class, which disproportionately targets African-Americans. Once the immigrants have taken the jobs, and taken the wages, then they're the only ones who can afford the rent, so the black people either have to pay higher rents or move out altogether. Schools and neighborhoods that used to be all black, like Watts in California, have now been ethnically cleansed by immigrants, largely from Central America.

Black people can't stand any of these immigrant groups, whether they're Hispanic, Asian, Muslim, or whatever. In West Coast jails, they are in open warfare along ethnic lines. They drive down the black standard-of-living, which was already low enough, they speak funny languages that hurt the brain for people who speak English, they're taking over the affirmative action and other social services meant for minorities, and lame liberal white people have unceremoniously dumped black culture in favor of Mexican, Indian, and Korean culture.

This places African-Americans in the same boat with Trump supporters regarding immigration. Both face a bleak economic future that will be lower than that of their parents and grandparents, as opposed to the immigrants for whom stealing American jobs means movin' on up from the level of their own parents and grandparents. Both face a lack of investment by the government in their own communities, while it is wasted by the trillions in other parts of the world, like our failed military empire.

And both face a changing American culture where their own culture doesn't count anymore -- albeit two separate American cultures, they both face extinction by the flood of foreigners. Mexican immigrants aren't going to preserve white American culture -- but they're not going to preserve black American culture either. They're going to replace both American cultures with their own, looking down on white and black American cultures as inferior, or at best as something alien to them.

The trick to pull off in forming an alliance between the Red Hats and the Black Panthers, though, is not making it about party voting. Blacks will never in a million years vote Republican -- and that's perfectly fine. Our job as populists and nationalists is not to "elect Republicans" or "preserve Republican majorities" -- that's the job of cuckservative GOP consultants, none of whom want populism or nationalism.

Our job is to improve the standard-of-living for the working and middle classes, and to protect America and Americans from getting overwhelmed by foreign influences.

There can be a Republican wing of that movement, rooted in the Trump supporters. But there can also be a Democrat wing, rooted in the black community. The movement would not primarily be focused on electoral politics anyway -- it would be on coordinating our efforts to raise the costs on the elite class, so that they surrender to our demands for a better standard-of-living for the American people.

It would not be a sappy "let's all get along" attempt at multicultural utopia. It would be more like an alliance between two distinct nations, each of whom share a common interest in protecting themselves from a common threat. Collective economic self-defense.

I think it would actually bring black and white Americans closer together socially and culturally -- but not a whole lot, certainly not to the level where we feel like we're part of one single culture. That will never happen, and it does not need to happen if the goal is only to send out the immigrants and keep boatloads more from flooding in. That only requires a truce to any hostilities between us, and an alliance of convenience.

Since the black side would be less willing to jump on board with a mobilization against immigrants, they will be asking for something more from the white Trump supporter side -- because they're less eager, but also as a sign of good faith that the white Trump supporters won't abandon them or sell them out, an obvious concern if blacks are going to team up with who they view as conservative Republicans.

The natural aid we could give would be to join their movement for better government spending on maintaining their communities. Rebuilding the crumbling roads, getting the poisonous lead out of their water system, turning on the heat in public schools during the freezing winter -- these are all commonsense things that a government ought to be doing for its people. Put an anti-globalist spin on it by saying we're going to spend our money on fixing Flint, not on fighting Fallujah.

Take it one step further by pushing for single-payer healthcare, where everyone gets to go on Medicare, rather than rely on the crappier coverage and treatment from Medicaid or Obamacare. Trump has been pushing that as far back as the 1990s, and it delivers higher quality healthcare at dramatically lower prices.

If an alliance formed, what could blacks do that white Trump supporters would not do?

Living in high-density urban areas, they can congregate more easily than those who live in sparsely populated suburbs or rural areas. The major political and economic buildings are not very far away, so it would not be hard for them to advance on a major target as a unified group. Collective action benefits from population density.

They live in key blue and purple states where Trump supporters are not that numerous anyway, even if they did want to travel from the suburbs and small towns into a big city to surround the state capitol building.

They're more willing to take collective action, rather than sit around complaining individually. White liberals are also comfortable acting collectively, but conservatives will hardly ever form into a crowd to strike fear into their enemy. The closest they've gotten was chanting in unison at a Trump rally -- but Trump is not holding those anymore. Working class whites who are part of a union are more comfortable acting as a group to hold physical territory, but they're generally not conservative Republicans.

They would de-fang the accusations that it's just a bunch of white racists who want less immigration and more illegals sent back. And it would not have the goofy optics of a GOP attempt to turn blacks into young Republicans. The "blacks against immigrants" would be saying we're not Republican, we're not conservative, and we don't really care that much about white people -- but our liberal Democrat black communities are getting destroyed by immigration, too, so sometimes you just gotta work with people who face the same problem. It's not an idealistic fusion to "break down barriers" between two cultures, but a tactical alliance of two cultures that otherwise prefer sticking to their own people.

As such, I don't see there being a whole lot of joint actions between the white and black sides, since it's hard outside of extensive military training to make two races feel like they're part of a single undivided group. It would be more like the black groups would raise hell their way in their areas, and whites would raise hell their way in their areas. But both would have the same target, the same overall goal, and the same basic message to send, just applied to their own groups.

There would be some unity events with both groups -- rallies, marches, protests, etc. But again I see those mostly having a white bloc and an African-American bloc. The whites would have their own way of chanting slogans, their own music being played, and their own fellow-feeling, while the blacks would have their own slogans, music, and fellow-feeling. No awkward attempts to force them to chant, dance, and get fired up in the same exact way.

For those Trump supporters who are skeptical that blacks could turn against the immigrants, just remember that we're due for another explosion of collective political violence circa 2020. Peter Turchin's work shows that these come at roughly 50-year intervals, and the last one hit around 1970, after earlier spikes in 1920, 1870, and 1770 (there's a gap in 1820).

One of the common threads to these outbreaks of group-against-group violence is that one of the groups are newcomers who are economically under-cutting the other group. When blacks moved out of the South during the 1910s, they worked for lower wages in many Midwestern cities -- where race riots would break out in the late '10s and early '20s. Same thing among newly arrived blacks in non-Southern cities during the late '60s.

Only today, African-Americans are well settled in the places they live in. They're not the newcomer group working for lower wages anymore. That would be these many immigrant groups, who are undercutting both whites and blacks. And being from a different ethnic group only exacerbates the tension of some group threatening your material welfare.

That is no less true for blacks vs. Mexicans than for whites vs. Mexicans. Blacks do not feel at all a part of the Mexican group, nor do Mexicans feel a part of the black group. They're from different continents, speak different languages, and have totally unshared cultures. They would have no more difficulty going at it than either one of them would going at it with whites.

In the political zeitgeist leading up to the imminent outbreak of collective violence, it is clear what the major tension is about -- economic stagnation and decline, a government and elite class that has abandoned its people.

Culture-war topics about race per se have grown weaker and weaker, especially among the younger generations -- who will be the ones doing most of the hot activity anyway. It's the well-off Boomers who are still stuck on airy-fairy culture-war topics, while young people with no future are more concerned with the immiseration that keeps getting worse.

That means the primary fault-line will be between those groups who are going through a falling standard-of-living, and those groups responsible for that falling standard by under-cutting them on wages. That means immigrants vs. non-immigrants, rather than whites vs. non-whites.

Notice what the DACA and other immigrant groups are demanding -- work permits, housing assistance, reduced in-state tuition, and other economic matters. They're not protesting about how whites who post taco bowl pictures to Instagram are guilty of cultural appropriation and need to confess their white liberal sins and seek absolution from culture priests.

They are openly pushing for advancing their own material welfare on the basis of being an immigrant vs. a citizen. That naturally makes enemies among those who are already citizens and want that material welfare for themselves -- they're antagonizing not only white Americans but black Americans, too, with these economic demands. Blacks understand that there's nothing in it for them to support amnesty or DACA or more immigration, and that's why they don't show up to those protests -- despite having a natural affinity for protesting.

Since 2020 is right around the corner, the sooner the populists and nationalists recognize these dynamics, the better prepared they can be to take advantage of it.