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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]
01 — Intro. Yes, it's Radio Derb's Election Special! This is your psephologically genial host John Derbyshire reporting on the major news event of the week, and some of the minor ones.
Before commencing, though, I should apologize for the absence of a broadcast last week. This was due to a catastrophic concatenation of circumstances.
After taping the October 27 broadcast I flew over to the U.S.A. for a conjugal visit with Mrs Derbyshire there on Long Island. I am glad to say I found my lady in excellent health and good humor. The Derb estates were also in splendid condition, thanks to a decision by Mrs D. You see, we had originally intended to lay off Miguel the pool boy when summer ended and our swimming pools covered over, but my wife decided to keep Miguel on because of his rare expertise in pumping technology. She further promoted Miguel to general manager of the property, and she tells me he has done an excellent job of maintenance, reaming out all the pipes and keeping moving parts well lubricated. Well, if she's happy, I'm happy.
Then Hurricane Sandy struck, with the property destruction and loss of life I am sure you have read about. Radio Derb offers sincere condolences to those afflicted. Charitable listeners can help relieve the distress via the Red Cross or local church groups, and we urge you to do so.
The Derb estates were spared serious damage, but the local airports were closed all week, so I was unable to get back to my sound studio here in the balmy Aegean. Not only that, but I was unable to communicate with my assistants here.
Naturally, without my firm guiding hand, things here on the island rather went to the dogs. The girls invited in some young men from the village, and a party spirit seems to have prevailed. I came back to find the studio littered with empty ouzo bottles, half-eaten souvlaki, and unidentifiable items of clothing. Disciplinary measures were called for! Mandy, Candy, and Brandy have lost a week's beach volleyball privileges, the village is out of bounds, and the Christmas party has been made conditional on good behavior. The secret of leadership is to be just, but firm — a lesson that I learned from our dear friend President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov of Turkmenistan, long may he rule.
Well, things are back to normal now, so let's take a look at the week's events.
02 — Republicans are white, but whites aren't Republican. People talk about elections in terms of the Presidency, but of course there's much more going on than that. There's a House of Representatives to be elected, one-third of the Senate, and governorships and state legislatures.
The Presidency is the symbolic big one, though, so let's take that first. Barack Obama won a second term, taking the popular vote by 51.2 percent and the electoral college by 303 to 206, with some counting still to be done in both cases.
In the post-election commentary there has been more than the usual amount of talk about demographics. Blacks were of course solid for Obama at 93 percent. Hispanics voted 71 percent for Obama, Asians 73 percent. Whites went 59 percent for Romney.
When you look at the overall picture, however, we are still fighting the Civil War. That is to say, the contest was mainly between two huge groups of white people who don't much like each other, with the colored folk playing a marginal role. That's how it was in the War Between the States, and that's how it still is today.
In the state of Mississippi, for example, 89 percent of whites voted for Romney; in the state of Alabama, it was 84 percent. In the state of Maine, on the other hand, only 40 percent of whites voted for Romney; in Vermont, only 33 percent.
Barack Obama wasn't re-elected by blacks, Hispanics, or Asians, though they helped at the margins; he was re-elected by Yankees.
And that works both positively and negatively: by northern whites turning out for Obama, and by northern whites failing to turn out for Romney. In a much-discussed piece by Sean Trende on RealClearPolitics, Trende crunches the poll numbers to show that a large number of whites just went missing. Sample quote:
Almost 7 million fewer whites voted in 2012 than in 2008. This isn't readily explainable by demographic shifts either; although whites are declining as a share of the voting-age population, their raw numbers are not.
End quote. Seven million! Seven million white voters who showed up in 2008 were too apathetic to do so this week! Trende's analysis seems to show that these missing whites are recession victims living away from the big cities and suburbs, enthusiastic neither about the guy whose party caused the recession, nor about the guy who in four years has failed to do much about it.
Still, while the Republican Party may be, in a phrase coined by one of my colleagues at VDARE.com, "implicitly white," white Americans are not Republican, implicitly or otherwise. I just mentioned the low Romney votes in Maine and Vermont. Both those states are 94 percent white. Romney also lost Iowa, which is 89 percent white, Minnesota and Wisconsin, both 83 percent white, Ohio, 81 percent white, Pennsylvania, 79 percent white, Oregon, 78 percent, Michigan, 77 percent, and Rhode Island and Massachusetts, both 76 percent white. Romney lost them all.
So don't be blaming the colored folk for this. Barack Obama, as I'm sure he'll be pleased to tell you, is the clear choice of some of the whitest parts of our country.
How did he get that way? Next segment …
03 — Bye-bye, Miss American exceptionalism. So how did Barack Obama win a second term?
Well, there was some attraction to him, and some repulsion from the other guy; some pull, some push.
The attraction to Obama was mostly purchased through the time-honored method, fundamental to democracy, of shoveling public money to key constituencies. Bailing out automobile companies sure didn't hurt Obama in the eastern Midwest; neither did bailing out banks in New York; neither did giving stimulus money to the states to spend on their public-sector unions.
Where the attraction wasn't just purchased with cold cash, it was the residue from the thrill — you know, the one that went up Chris Matthews' leg — of having a black guy in the Oval Office. This wasn't as big a deal as in 2008, but it still counted; especially among young people (the 18-to-29 cohort voted 60 percent for Obama), and especially, judging by those numbers in the previous segment, in states where there aren't many blacks. The myth of the Magic Negro has most power in places where nearly everybody is white.
Repulsion from Romney — and I'm just talking now about whites, the only people who matter in this Civil War re-enactment — repulsion from Romney was mostly based on sex, class, and religion.
Romney won among men, 52 percent; Obama won among women, 55 percent. The marriage gap was even bigger than the sex gap: 62 percent of unmarried voters went for Obama, nearly two-thirds; only 44 percent of married voters did. Some of those numbers key in with the racial split: white people are more married than nonwhites. Some of it is the mood of mutual support and self-sufficiency you get in marriage: you and me against the world, honey. If you're single, to whom do you look for support? Well, to your Mom and Dad, perhaps, but increasingly to the State, especially if you're a single woman and the State is personified by a capable-seeming and confident male.
The class thing was the aspect most commented on beforehand. It's definitely class and not wealth. It can hardly be wealth, as nowadays all politicians are rich. Barack Obama's rich. He hasn't always been rich, though he's never been poor. Joe Biden's stinking rich. Hillary Clinton is rich beyond the dreams of avarice. They're all rich. So it can't be just wealth; it's class.
Mitt Romney was born rich; and he got rich all over again in a way remote from most ordinary people's understanding, by playing what looks to Joe Citizen like Monopoly-style board-games with real companies.
My personal guess is that something else is going on, too, though. As social mobility declines and the middle class is more and more squeezed — median income in the U.S. peaked in 1998 and has been falling ever since — ever larger numbers of Americans dislike the rich, especially those born rich. When I was a kid, the story we were told was that in England, if a working man saw a toff drive by in an expensive car, he'd think to himself: "Damn those rich swine! Come the day, we'll be stringing them up from lamp-posts." In the U.S.A., however, if a working man saw a toff drive by in an expensive car, he'd think to himself: "That could be me one day." That, we were told, was the difference in social attitudes between a class-based and a classless society.
As America's class structure hardens into an endogamous caste system, that's less true than it used to be. I'm not sure that it even is true any more. In this respect, as in others, the U.S.A. is drifting towards being just another left-liberal class-based European-style social democracy.
Here's one of the others: religion. Religion was another factor repelling people from Romney, though a smaller one than sex and class.
One of the striking things about the U.S.A. to a person who arrives here as an adult is the great hostility that irreligious Americans feel towards religious ones. If you settle in the irreligious northeast, as I did, you hear plenty of sneering about bible-thumping redneck hillbillies.
Some of this is just snobbery of the good old urban-rural type that's been with us since ancient Greece: sophisticated city slickers looking down on rustic folk. Some of it's the North-South divide — the Civil War again, the South being more religious than the North. And some of it is reasonable fear that religious scolds will cramp one's lifestyle — banning abortions, jailing homosexuals, enforcing school prayer on your kids, and so on.
Well, the Republican Party is at the receiving end of this hostility. It's getting worse, too, as the U.S.A. becomes more secular. With Mitt Romney the hostility was amplified by his being a Mormon. Not only secular liberals dislike Mormons, so do a lot of Christians. To be sure, Barack Obama puts up a show of being religious when he can remember to, but I doubt there is a single soul in America who believes Obama to be anything but a yuppie agnostic.
So here we are, well on the way to being just another left-liberal class-ridden European-style secular social democracy. It's there in the numbers; it's staring out at us from Tuesday's result.
Bye-bye, American exceptionalism.
04 — R.i.P, GOP? We may be re-fighting the Civil War, with the election being an arm-wrestle between two big blocks of non-Hispanic white voters, but this is less true now than in the past, and will be even less true in the future. Already the number of non-Hispanic white kids in the nation's First Grade classes is below fifty percent. The Census Bureau estimate of the date at which we'll be a minority of the population keeps shifting, but it's never later than 2050 — a date at which my kids will be middle-aged, and I myself actuarily could still be alive, just barely.
I just pause here to note in passing, and with extreme irritation, the way in which this demographic transformation is usually discussed in the public media. I watched Sean Hannity discuss it in exactly these terms the other evening. The terms are, that the browning of America is a natural phenomenon, like the tides, or the expansion of the universe. It's just happening to us via some irresistible force of nature. Nothing we can do!
That's baloney. This great demographic change driving whites into minority status is the result of particular government policies, voted into law by our elected representatives — mainly, Ted Kennedy's 1965 Immigration Act. Under different laws, we'd have had a different result. It isn't nature doing this to us: we did it to ourselves, with eyes wide open.
And we've continued doing it to ourselves by bipartisan agreement, aided by public indifference and the suicidal niceness and generosity of Americans.
On one side of that bipartisan agreement has been the Democratic Party, always keen to swell the low-paid and underclass segments of the population so that they have more voting-booth fodder, more recruits to the public-sector and healthcare unions, and more clients for the public sector to cater to.
On the other side has been the Republican Party and its sponsors in agribusiness and Chambers of Commerce, always hungry for cheap labor, always striving to socialize their costs while privatizing their profits.
At any rate, the demographic transformation has happened; it's almost certainly too late to do anything about it; and notwithstanding that this election result, like all previous ones, and perhaps the next one or two, has been driven by differences among whites, notwithstanding that, Tuesday's result brought home the transformation to a great many people who up to this week had been refusing to notice it, or waving it away with Pollyanna talk about Ellis Island and the melting pot.
As Peter Brimelow pointed out nearly twenty years ago in his book Alien Nation, this demographic transformation cannot possibly be good for the Republican Party, which is, as I said, basically a white folks' party. Some of the gloomier souls in the conservative blogosphere are already suggesting that the GOP is doomed, that George W. Bush was the last Republican President — "the Republican Millard Fillmore," as one wag said, referring to the last President from the old Whig party — that Romney/Ryan was the last straight white male ticket, and so on.
Some even gloomier ones — I refer you for example to Larry Auster's blog, View From the Right — have gone further, saying that Tuesday's election is the end of the U.S.A. Shelby Foote said that before the Civil War it was customary to say "The United States are," and then that after the Civil War it changed to "The United States is." Well, there's a bunch of people out there, some of them friends of mine, telling you that we've moved into a third phase: "The United States was."
What should we make of all this? Is it curtains for the Republican Party? Are we headed for something like the Whig Supremacy, which lasted for most of the 18th century in Britain? Will the Democrats become our equivalent of Mexico's Institutional Revolutionary Party, which held power for 71 years? Could it be that the U.S.A. itself, as a coherent nation, is heading into the sunset?
Permit me to venture some speculations.
05 — The shape of things to come. What about the future, then? Does the Republican Party have a future?
As I have been saying, there is no unity among white Americans. The old splits of education, class, sex, religion, city-country, and of course North-South still divide whites, and that is the basis of most of our politics. The Republican Party is white, sure enough, but whites aren't Republican.
This will presumably be less and less the case as whites head for minority status. At some point the fact of impending minority status will sink in, and whites will begin to sink their differences and circle the wagons. At some point the Lee Kuan Yew principle will take over. I've quoted it before, and I'll quote it again, because it's very quotable in this context. Quote from Lee Kuan Yew, who was Prime Minister of Singapore for thirty years, and the power behind the curtain for a further twenty in that very successful city-state, quote:
In multiracial societies, you don't vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion.
What then will be the fate of the Republican Party? The Republicans themselves seem unable to discuss this at any level above the moronic. The usual thing you hear is that the GOP has to "reach out" to minorities, especially Hispanics, by handing out a few million sets of citizenship papers to illegals and by putting Marco Rubio on the 2016 ticket.
This is, as I said, moronic. Not "Mormonic" — been there, done that — moronic.
"But," (I hear you say), "if the GOP is to be the white folks' party, and if white folks are destined to be a minority even within the possible lifetime of a reactionary old fogey like Derbyshire, then the GOP will be a minority party, for ever excluded from power, won't it?"
That depends how things shake out over the next forty years. Yes: In a nation made up entirely of ethnic minorities, any ethnically-based party will of course be a minority party. To get power under the present constitutional order, supposing that continues to exist, two or more minorities will have to unite under one party.
But (A) I refer you to Lee Kuan Yew's observation quoted earlier, that in a multiethnic state, politics inevitably comes down to an ethnic shoving match; and (B) this logic will apply to the Democratic Party, too, only in the opposite direction.
Let me elaborate on (B) there. The only thing binding the Democratic Party together right now is hatred of traditional white America. As traditional white America fades in power and importance, the Democrats, deprived of that binding force, may come unglued. By mid-century our politics may consist of three, four, or more minority parties in floating alliances with each other. It's plausible, for example — though I'll allow I may be influenced by personal bias here — it's plausible that whites and East Asians could go into coalition with each other. Or that successful white Hispanics like Rubio might be at odds with underperforming black and Amerindian Hispanics. Or that blacks and Hispanics may turn enemies, as they already are in jails and schoolyards all over the nation.
So I take the chatter about the death of the Republican Party with a grain of salt. However, I take the other chatter — the chatter about the Republican Party ceasing to be a white party — I take that with a whole truckload of salt. No, make that a one-hundred-wagon locomotive full of salt. Mm, come to think of it, let's make it a container ship …
06 — Election round-up. As I said, there's more to the election that just the presidential fight. Here are some election odds and ends.
The House of Representatives definitely stays Republican, though probably with a reduced majority — we don't have all the numbers in at the time of going to tape. The Senate definitely stays Democratic, with an in-creased majority. Also an increased gayness quotient, with openly lesbian Tammy Baldwin winning a seat in Wisconsin. Ms Baldwin was formerly a congressperson: openly homosexual state lawmaker Mark Pocan was chosen to, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, in phrasing I can't help but think very slightly unfortunate in the context, to fill her open seat.
Of the eleven state governorships up for election, the GOP has picked up one, for a total 30 governorships, and may pick up another one, in Montana.
Not just the balance of power in Congress is the same, so is the rhetoric. With a tremendous fiscal crisis looming, John Boehner [Clip: Johnny Ray, "Cry"] declares that government spending must be cut but taxes must not be raised, while Harry Reid declares that government spending must not be cut but taxes must be raised. Hey ho. My best guess is that the pols will kick the can down the road a year or two somehow, while stealthily turning up the heat on the inflation burner that is the only way to square the fiscal circle.
In state ballot initiatives, the homosexualist revolution continues to march on. The states of Maine and Maryland voted to allow same-sex marriage. That makes them the seventh and eighth states where a married couple can be frank and earnest (though in point of fact, the way it actually comes out in practice, they are much more often Francine and Ernestine). They are, though, the first states to make the decision through a popular vote.
The states of Colorado and Washington voted to legalize marijuana; though since it's still an illegal drug in federal law, there's going to be some knotty litigation up ahead before you can legally light a spliff in Aspen or Spokane.
A couple of titbits from the Congressional voting. In Illinois' 2nd District, Jesse Jackson, Jr., who has represented the District since 1995, was re-elected with a thumping 64 percent of the vote. This is noteworthy because Rep. Jackson (A) did no campaigning whatsoever, in fact did not meet with a single constituent and has not been seen in public since early June, on account of having been hospitalized in various clinics for treatment of bipolar disorder, and (B) is in the throes of negotiating a plea deal with federal investigators looking into felony-level misuse of congressional funds. Rep. Jackson is also the subject of an investigation by the House Ethics Committee. We congratulate him on his re-election.
Finally, we said goodbye to Thaddeus McCotter, representative from Michigan's 11th District, whose lugubrious charm featured briefly in the GOP primary contests last year. McCotter had actually resigned from Congress back in July when it was discovered that he had faked the petitions required to get him on the ballot. It was later discovered that he had faked the petitions in at least two of his previous five elections.
Thad was replaced as the Representative for Michigan's 11th by Kerry Bentivolio, who is described by the Detroit Free Press as, quote, "a former teacher, veteran, Tea Party member, part-time Santa Claus and reindeer rancher," end quote. Well, now he's in Congress, he can be a full-time Santa Claus, can't he?
07 — Miscellany. And now, our brief miscellany of closing items.
Imprimis: Nikki Nicolaides, proprietor of this island's only fast-food outlet, famous throughtout the Aegean for its goatburgers, drew the following news story to my attention the other day. It concerns a gentleman named Islam Bhati, of Rajasthan, India. Based on that first name, I guess we don't need to spend a whole lot of time speculating about Mr Bhati's religious affiliation.
Well, Mr Bhati has a goat, and he's looking to sell it … for two hundred thousand dollars. This goat, you see, has a brown and white coat; and the brown bits, if you squinch up your eyes and stare hard, look like the word "Allah" written in Arabic script. Devout Muslims sacrifice a goat or a sheep at their festivals, you see, and there's a festival coming up. So far Mr Bhati has only been offered 50,000 dollars, but he's holding out for the target price.
I asked Nikki if he'd be in the market for that goat. He said: "Nah, too skinny," then he went on stirring a pot of fabric dye.
Item: Head Start is always worth a bit of mockery. As I noted in my galaxy-wide best-seller We Are Doomed, Head Start, a pre-school program for low-income children, is a huge totem among liberals. Quote from myself, quote: "Their faces light up with virtuous certitude as they utter it — Head Start! — and the effect of the charm, they seem to imagine, is to silence their opponent. You can't POSSIBLY be against Head Start!" End quote.
Well, you should be. In its 47 years of operation — forty-seven years! — there has never been any conclusive evidence that Head Start does any good at all. When Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom wrote their 2004 book No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning, they reviewed the evidence up to 2003, by which point 60 billion dollars had been spent on the program over 38 years. They found no proven benefits from the program. Cost of the program this fiscal year: eight billion dollars.
Well, here's this week's news item. Back in 1998, Congress mandated that HHS do a nationwide evaluation of the program and report the results to Congress. There was a schedule for them doing this. In particular, a key document called the Third Grade Follow-Up Study, the most comprehensive ever on the long-term effects of Head Start, was supposed to be delivered by September last year. We know that the data for this study was all collected by early 2008, and the data analysis had been completed by 2010. Yet Congress still hasn't gotten the report.
Last month Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Representative John Kline of Minnesota wrote to Kathleen Sebelius asking for the report and an explanation for the delay. Four years since the data was collected; two years since the analysis was completed; over a year since the scheduled delivery date; still no report. I wonder why? Perhaps the HHS printer ran out of ink.
Item: Finally, some news from my church, which is of course the Church of England. The church has a new boss this week, which is to say, a new Archbishop of Canterbury. We don't officially know who it is as we go to tape here, but it seems wellnigh certain to be Justin Welby, currently Bishop of Durham. The Right Reverend was formerly an oil company executive, so he should at any rate be pretty deft at the anointing business.
Sensationally, Bishop Welby is neither a woman, nor black, nor a homosexual, nor a Muslim. He's an actual Christian, married with five kids. His father was a bootlegger in the U.S.A. during Prohibition, then he returned to England and married a private secretary to Winston Churchill and begat the bishop.
The new Archbishop, if that's who he is, comes with a wee bit of scandal attached, though not really his fault. Britain has legalized betting on anything at all, and the punters have been betting on who the new Archbishop would be. Clergymen especially, it seems: they've been using insider knowledge to place some big bets, to the degree that one of the big bookmaker firms suspended all betting on the new Archbishop after odds on Justin Welby dropped in the space of a few hours from 7-4 to an odds-on 1-2.
The Lord moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform; but it's a bit less mysterious if you have a friend in the bishop's palace who can pass you a trainer's tip.
08 — Signoff. That's all for this week, boys and girls … and with no offense whatsoever to listeners who are unsure on the boy-girl thing. I think I already gave offense to the differently-oriented there somewhere, didn't I? Yes … no need to over-egg the pudding.
Passing from the ridiculous to the sublime, I note in all seriousness that this weekend includes what in my childhood we called Armistice Day, November 11th, and what here in my new country I know as Veteran's Day. A very heartfelt thanks to all who have served our country and our civilization under shot and shell, in land, sea, and air.
In England, Armistice Day honored both surviving veterans and those who fell in battle: in American terms, both Veteran's Day and Memorial Day. On the closest school day to the 11th, we'd all gather in the school hall and sing this lovely hymn: "O Valiant Hearts."
Thank you for listening. More from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: "O Valiant Hearts"]