John Derbyshire: Emerging "Demographic Conservatism" Is The Real Lesson Of Roy Moore
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Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, available exclusively on

What I call "Demographic conservatism"—the instinctive tendency to want to live among people who closely resemble yourself in appearance, manners, dress style, language, and religion, the package we call "culture,” except that race is a component too—is a major factor in what I've been calling the Cold Civil War between Goodwhites and Badwhites. The latest skirmish: the recent special election for Jeff Sessions' Senate seat in Alabama. The Republican candidate, Roy Moore, lost by a whisker—one and a half percent.

My dismay is both rational and emotional.

  • I'm rationally dismayed because the U.S. Senate is now a tad less likely to pass patriotic immigration reform.
The Democrat, Doug Jones, is pretty much a nullity on the National Question. A site search on the "Doug Jones for Senate" website using the search string "immigr" got no hits.

Jones did respond to a questionnaire from NumbersUSA, but his responses were deeply uninformative.

I doubt there's any deliberate cunning here. My guess is that Doug Jones has just never given ten seconds' continuous thought to the National Question except as it concerns American blacks, who he believes are held back from full and equal participation in American society by irrational prejudice and discrimination.

Probably he thinks about other minorities—Hispanics, Muslims, homosexuals—through the same prism, to the degree he thinks about them at all.

My rational dismay is tempered somewhat by the reflection that the U.S. Senate is in any case not likely to pass true immigration reform.

Democratic Senators are lockstep for open borders. That's not an exaggeration: The report grades for immigration reduction at the NumbersUSA website have every single Democrat in the U.S. Senate graded F-minus—every damn one.

The GOP presents more variety, but there are fourteen F-minuses there, too, along with one regular F, five Ds, and twenty-nine Cs. One of the Cs is Luther Strange, who'll now be replaced by Doug Jones, a sure F-minus once he gets down to voting.

In case you lost track of the arithmetic there, that leaves just three Republican Senators unaccounted for. They break one A and two Bs. The A is Tom Cotton of Arkansas; the Bs are Ted Cruz of Texas and David Perdue of Georgia.

Chance of getting an immigration moratorium from this crowd, or legislation against Birthright Citizenship, or a proper entry-exit visa tracking system, or an end to co-operation with the United Nations bogus-refugee program, or a really secure southern border? Zero, zero, zero, zero, and zero—with or without Roy Moore.

  • My emotional dismay is that Roy Moore, with all his many flaws, is an instinctive and dogged counter-revolutionary.
I loathe and fear the cultural revolution that's sweeping over our country. I'll gladly vote, and encourage others to vote, for anyone who stands athwart this cultural revolution crying "Stop!"

And then there's my lingering affection for the old, weird America—the America of honky-tonks and freak shows, of sleepy towns in the hollows and corn liquor stills in the woods, of Leadbelly and Junior Johnson, of carny barkers and hellfire preachers.

Yes, of course I know there were downsides. I already told you: This is emotion, not reason. Roy Moore, with all his downsides, reflects echoes of that old, weird America. I like that.

Enough about my preferences, though. Let's do a little analysis here. What does Tuesday's Alabama vote tell us?

Nothing new that I can see.

Blacks and ethnomasochist whites in college towns voted Democrat. Some other whites who couldn't stomach either party's candidate wrote in someone else. There weren't many of those write-ins, but there were enough to swing the vote. If all 22,811 of them had voted for Moore, he would have won by more than two thousand votes.

So Roy Moore's colorful personality was a factor in his defeat. So, as's James Kirkpatrick pointed out, was GOP Establishment sabotage—and Moore's lackadaisical approach to campaigning.

The exit polls show that black voters turned out in force and voted with exceptional solidarity. They went 96 percent for the Democrat. Black women went for him 98 percent.

Among whites the sex gap went the opposite way. White men went 72 percent for Roy Moore; white women only 63 percent.

Is this a Cat Lady phenomenon? Were white married women more likely to vote for Roy Moore? I can't tell you. The only exit polling I've seen breaks out black from white and parents from non-parents, but not the cross-products: white parents, black childless, etc. Asking about married or not married is probably obsolete, since a majority of blacks with children in the home, along with a swelling minority of whites, are unmarried.

We do see, though, that blacks, and especially black women, vote their skin. They'll vote for a black if one is available. If none is, they will vote for whichever candidate is perceived as more anti-white.

In my infamous column "The Talk" at Taki's Magazine I opined that

A small cohort of blacks—in my experience, around five percent—is ferociously hostile to whites and will go to great lengths to inconvenience or harm us.
I still think I got that about right. There are, though, degrees of antipathy less intense than ferocious hostility. Way more than five percent of American blacks just don't like whites, and will always vote for the blackest or most anti-white candidate, regardless of issues.

Put those blacks together with white gentry ethnomasochists and whites who were turned off by Roy Moore, and you get Tuesday's result.

Following the Alabama race, I found myself thinking, as I sometimes have in regard to our current President, that I'd welcome a smaller gap in political skill and credibility between the singer and the song.

I am personally acquainted with many people who sing the song: the song, I mean, of patriotism, traditionalism, prudence, and—yes, here I get to deploy my neologism—demographic conservatism. Every one of them is sober, thoughtful, polite, well-read, and well-informed.

Yet the only singers of that song, or anything close to it, on the national political stage this past few months have been Donald Trump and Roy Moore.

Trump, with all due respect to the office of the President, and all thanks to Heaven that I am not living under the iron heel of Mrs. Clinton—Trump had never heard of the nuclear triad. Roy Moore had never heard of DACA.

I supported both men, and would support them again, given the alternatives. But can't National Conservatism do better?

Meanwhile the question hangs in the air: "How much of a one-off is this? Is it representative of anything, predictive of any big thing? Or not?"

Without trying hard I can make the case that it's very representative of Western-world politics in our time.

Here I get to deploy my neologism again. "Demographic conservatism": just practice it, roll it around on your tongue a couple more times. Then consider the following features of the Alabama vote. I'll allow they are implicit features of the vote: but implicit or explicit, the policy outcomes will be the same.

  • One: Very close to fifty percent of the electorate—well-nigh all of them legacy whites—voted for demographic conservatism.
  • Two: Very close to fifty percent of the electorate—a coalition of ethnomasochist whites, legacy non-whites, and recent immigrants—voted for demographic change.
Which looks remarkably like the Brexit vote in the U.K. a year and a half ago.

All over the Western world today— in the U.S.A. and Britain, in Europe and Australia—demographic conservatism is more and more a thing.

Sooner or later, I hope and believe, it will bring forth politicians more skillful and more credible than Roy Moore.

Then there will be real change, change that immigration patriots can cheer on whole-heartedly.2010-12-24dl[1]

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. ) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by com:FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

For years he’s been podcasting at Radio Derb, now available at for no charge.His writings are archived at

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