Peter Brimelow: I met Craig in 1971, when we were both at Stanford. He was at the Hoover Institution and I was at the Graduate School of Business. So that's a long time. And he hasn't gotten any softer!
When I first knew Craig, we were very preoccupied with the Soviet Union and the Cold War. Of course, James, nobody under the age of 35 (except my wife, who I keep going on to about it!) knows what the Cold War was. But at that time, it was a real serious threat. And we won. So the moral of this story is: we can win again.
James Edwards: Well, that's what we're shooting for. So—State of the Union. How would you grade it?
Peter Brimelow: You and I were at the AMREN conference last year, James, where I said my general view on Trump is he gets A because he's not Hillary Clinton—and A+ because he's not Jeb Bush. You can't imagine how awful it would have been if either of them had been elected. With her, we'd have gone full Merkel, we'd have a million refugees a year coming in, she'd have tried to swamp the US, to knock out the Historic American Nation.
To answer your question more specifically: technically—and I used to be a speech writer in Washington—I thought it was well done.
The game he's playing on immigration is not the game I would like him to play, but it's a clever game. You can see signs that it really is putting a lot of pressure on the Democrats. He's made what I think is far too…generous is the wrong word…capitulationist offer to them. He's offered to Amnesty far too many illegals. He's offered to not reduce legal immigration for far too long, until they've got the applicant backlog worked off. It's a very, very soft offer, particularly considering what we're looking at here is the future of the Republican Party and the Historic American Nation. Electorally, that hangs by a thread right now. Every one of these people coming in, almost without exception, are going to vote Democratic.
Fortunately for us, the Democrats are fools. And that was the wonderful thing about the theater at the State of the Union: Trump has maneuvered them into a posture of being anti-American. He said all these patriotic things, how wonderful it is that the economy's growing and so on, and they looked really unhappy—above all, when he raised the question of chain migration.
Let's not forget, four years ago, nobody had even heard of chain migration unless you happened to read VDARE.com or some of the patriotic immigration reform websites. Basically, if they Amnesty people in, those people will then be able to sponsor their own relatives in, and they'll be able to sponsor their relatives in, and so on ad infinitum. That's how the system has been working since 1965.
Trump has now said, "This can't go on." His Amnesty's not going to include that provision. The Democrats actually booed at that point in his speech. They're booing an attempt protect the Historic American Nation. He's maneuvered them into a situation which is truly unprecedented.
I've been writing about this, as you know, James, since 1992, when I did that big cover story for National Review that ultimately grew into Alien Nation. The big problem all that time was that the issue was not polarizing along party political lines because we had so many cucks in the Republican Party. Now Trump has driven them out. Just looking at the enthusiasm of the Republican members there, it's his party now—and it is an immigration patriot party.
James Edwards: For the Democrats now, even the mention of America or USA in certain contexts is white supremacist.
Peter Brimelow: Well, there were a lot of long words in it, like border control and things like that. You can't blame them for not being able to focus on it.
That's the wonderful thing. The Democrats are just rising to the bait.
James Edwards: The only reason debate has devolved to this level is because we continue to entertain these accusations and treat them as if they were serious. Trump himself doesn't do enough to push back against these ridiculous charges. But in 1995, Bill Clinton, in his State of the Union address was much tougher than what Trump has said now. And then they all applauded:
We are a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws. It is wrong and, ultimately, self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it.James Edwards: Of course, he didn't mean it. He didn't do it. But he said: "We're going to secure the borders. We're going to enforce our laws," etc. etc. By modern day standards , Bill Clinton gave a White Nationalist sermon in his 1995 State of the Union address. Trump himself didn't even come close to being as firm.
[Emphases as in the spoken original, see official transcript—it was followed by a 15-second standing ovation.]
Peter Brimelow: Right. Clinton was very shrewd about immigration. When Barbara Jordan, the Jordan Commission, made its preliminary recommendations calling for a dramatic reduction in immigration, he actually endorsed them. [Clinton Embraces a Proposal To Cut Immigration by a Third, by Robert Pear, NYT, June 8, 1995] But then of course, the Republicans didn't do anything about it. They abandoned the Smith-Simpson bill, which enacted its provisions. So when Clinton saw that, of course, he stopped being worried that he was going to be outflanked on the immigration issue.
What I think is even more amazing than Clinton is that in 1993 Harry Reid, subsequently Democratic Senate Majority Leader, introduced a bill calling for an immigration moratorium, in other words, no net immigration. [S. 1351 (103rd): Immigration Stabilization Act of 1993]
Which is, of course, what Trump should be going for now, rather than this messing around with maybe reducing legal immigration in 10 years’ time—for a number of reasons, one of which is you don't have to adjudicate between competing ethnic groups as who gets to come in.
Reid abandoned it, of course, because he had leadership ambitions. The Democratic Party's moved very dramatically to the left in the last 20 years, and particularly since the last election.
James Edwards: With regard to how far the line has been pushed as to what is and isn't acceptable speech, how much worse could it possibly get? Are there ever going to be people in Washington like you and Paul Craig Roberts who are just going to say "Enough's enough. Let's get real. This is how it is and we're not going to mince words about it”?
Peter Brimelow: I guess I'd say two things. It's now obvious that the Left had planned a real crackdown on speech if Hillary Clinton had won, and they have actually put a lot of that crackdown into effect. A lot of Dissident Right websites lost services like Google Ad Sense and PayPal last year. But the difference would have been that it would have been backed up by the power of the federal government. For example, at VDARE.com, we're a 501c3. If you give us money, we can give a tax deduction. I'm sure that we would have lost that if Hillary Clinton had been elected, and so would American Renaissance and everybody else they could lay their hands on.
We have a quiet totalitarian Leftist coup underway. They've done things like suppress speakers, even milquetoasts Like Charles Murray and Heather Mac Donald can't speak at college campuses. There's been hundreds of attacks on Trump supporters. And, of course, this ridiculous Charlottesville situation, a coup against a legal demonstration, the Unite The Right rally, by elected, uniformed, unelected and paramilitary Democrats,
But the wonderful thing about that is that Trump knew what was going on there. He knew that the Main Stream Media narrative was wrong. I don't know how. How could he possibly have known that? He's supposed to get all his information from cable TV. They certainly didn't report it. But somehow, he instinctively knew that the narrative was wrong.
I guess my second answer is: miracles happen quite frequently in politics. Trump is there now Who knows what miracles will happen in the future?
James Edwards: That's right. I was thinking back about our last conversation on the radio in September 2015 after Trump announced his candidacy—
Peter Brimelow: Right, I was reading it myself, James.
James Edwards: You called a lot of things that certainly manifested themselves. Has Trump exceeded or fallen short of expectations? I think certainly he's fallen short—
Peter Brimelow: James, as I say, first of all, I really think the point is he's not Hillary Clinton. We really dodged a bullet there.
I'm discontented with Trump in a number of ways, but you have to be patient about the way politics work. I learned that with Reagan. You're too young to remember, but I was on the Hill in 1980 when Reagan was elected. We all thought it was going too slow. And he did go too slow in many ways, but he still made a fundamental difference. If it hasn't been for Reagan, I think the Soviet Union would still be in existence, and Americans would be paying for it through their banking system. It was some time before everybody realized that a sea change had taken place.
What Trump is doing on the immigration thing—we ran an article by John Derbyshire, which I recommend to you—is a real gamble, but as Congress is set up right now, there's really no chance of getting substantial patriotic immigration reform through, partly because the Republican senators are no damn good in terms of immigration.
Now that didn't bother me. I thought Trump ought to have made them vote up or down on a whole string of issues—including Birthright Citizenship and an immigration moratorium and abolishing the refugee statute so we don't have refugees coming into the country anymore—and then run on that in the next election. That's what I would have done.
But what's Trump has tried to do is actually to get significant reform by dangling this DACA Amnesty in front of the Democrats. Maybe he'll get something. But the really good thing about this strategy, and what I think is the best outcome, is if it fails. There's no legislation, DACA expires, and ICE can start deporting them. And Trump and the Republicans will run in 2018 saying, "Look, we did everything we could, but the Democrats were being unreasonable."
James Edwards: VDARE.com was featured at the 2016 Republican National Convention! Support there. I got a good kick out of seeing that go around the ticker when I was in that Quicken Loans Arena that night.
Hashtagged VDARE.com Tweet featured on the JumboTron at the RNC. Photo credit: James Edwards.
Peter Brimelow: I think you pointed it out to us, James. Thanks!
James Edwards: It was a pleasure to do so, believe me. I want to play another clip for you, Peter—a white supremacist speech from Hillary Clinton!
Hillary Clinton: “Mexico is such an important problem. Mexican government's policies are pushing migration north. There isn't any sensible approach except to do what we need to do simultaneously, you know, secure our borders with technology, personnel, physical barriers, if necessary, in some places. We need to have tougher employer sanctions and we need to kind of incentivize Mexico to do more. If they've committed transgressions of whatever kind, they should be, obviously, deported.” [Speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, October 31, 2006]
James Edwards: We need that and of course a lot more, but what do you think we'll actually get? Because sooner or later we're going to have to come to a resolution on it.
Peter Brimelow: We don't have to come to a resolution on anything, actually, as far as this DACA thing's concerned. One of these rogue judges is currently trying to maintain the current situation, the unconstitutional Amnesty that Obama put in. It will reach the Supreme Court, he'll certainly be rejected, DACA will expire, ICE can start deporting these people. And that's what should happen. It may take time, but attrition will gradually set in and there's no reason why they can't ultimately all be compelled to go home, which is what should happen.
What the Democrats did here was pollaganda. They picked out a subset of the illegal population, the ones who come in as children, or at any rate teenagers, and asked people, "Should they be deported?" If you ask the question the right way, you can get people to say they shouldn't be deported. But of course, we don't allow the children of burglars to keep the stolen property that their parents acquired. These DREAMers have already stolen over $10,000 a year in K-12 education costs and so on. They should take that and go home.
The ideal solution, I think, right now is that nothing happens, and the Republicans go into the 2018 elections saying that they did their best but the Democrats are just unreasonable, and we've got to enough Republicans in to impose unilateral patriotic immigration reform.
The danger is that there are a lot of very bad Republicans like Lindsey Graham who will still want to have a Gang of Eight-type Amnesty, and they still think they can get it through. The danger is Trump loses control of the process and Congress passes something like that, which he would then have to veto.
On the whole, I think failure is the more likely option. But you never know.
I don't know why Trump is so sensitive to this question of the DACA recipients. I simply don't believe these polls that people are sympathetic to them. But he obviously does think they are. Michael Wolff in his book Fire and Fury says specifically that Jared and Ivanka think that passing DACA is their ticket to winning acceptability in liberal New York. And if that's so, that's very bad news.
But I would guess right now the thing is going to fail. A couple of weeks ago I wrote something in VDARE.com saying that the thing is about Trump is, he's frequently wavered on the immigration question in various ways, but he always comes back. There's always an “outhouse” moment—John Derbyshire uses the term “outhouse” because he doesn't want to say the word explicitly. There's always some point when things blow up and it turns out that his heart is in the right place. That has always happened. His heart is in the right place. We saw that at Charlottesville. His heart is in the right place.
James Edwards: Do you think we will have a wall before Trump is out of the White House?
Peter Brimelow: You can see a lot of signs that the Democrats are cracking, and their Main Stream Media handlers are cracking, on the issue. The New York Times this week had a long article by Tom Edsall, a liberal journalist, saying that Trump has the Democrats where he wants them and they have to make some concessions to him to get the immigration issue out of the way [Trump Has Got Democrats Right Where He Wants Them, February 2, 2018]. They don't want to go into the 2018 election with this thing hanging over them. A number of them have said, "Give him some type of wall. Get it out of the way. It doesn't matter how expensive it is, we just want to Amnesty the DREAMers." So he's come remarkably close to getting this wall, which nobody thought could be done. We'll see. I think we will see some actual physical structure built before 2020.
JE: we've seen these statistics, these models, that if only non-whites were voting, every state, 50 out of 50, would have gone to Hillary—
Peter Brimelow: But did you see the map that the blogger Audacious Epigone put out the other day? If the franchise was restricted to Generation Z (the white population) I think only two states would have gone for Hillary.
James Edwards: Really?
Peter Brimelow: Yeah.
James Edwards: I did not see that.
Peter Brimelow: We blogged on it. Actually, we tweeted it. But it's quite remarkable. I mean, the country's polarizing on racial lines. In the short run, even without patriotic immigration reform, that's very good news for Republicans, even though they don't deserve to benefit from it.
James Edwards: That is surprisingly good news. That’s a verbal double take just hearing you say that!
Peter Brimelow: Wait till you see what would happen if the franchise was restricted to Generation Z white males! That's even better.
I think Peter and I were two of the last people to join Twitter. Hey, Peter, it went by far too quickly. It always does. We've got to do it again soon.
Peter Brimelow [Email him] is the editor of VDARE.com. His best-selling book, Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster, is now available in Kindle format. Follow Peter Brimelow on Twitter.